YouTube went through a major redesign last year and, after a long waiting period, the video-sharing website’s Android app has finally been updated to keep up with the desktop version. The new app comes with a whole new UI, but also adds a few very important touches of functionality, making YouTube for Android better and cooler than ever.

The first thing you’ll notice about the updated app will most likely be the interface, which looks nothing like the old one on Android. That’s a good thing, though, not only because we felt the need for a change, but also because the new UI is friendlier, easier to use and more focused on the user’s actual needs.

The app’s developers said that they wanted to focus the YouTube app “on just the stuff you care about”, and, as far as we can tell right now, they managed to pull it off brilliantly. You have instant access to all of your channels  at the push of a button, as well as a feed constantly updating with new videos, and the most viewed and popular clips neatly organized in a new “trending” section at the bottom of your home screen.

The visual changes and improvements are not the only aces up the new app’s sleeve and, in fact, the update’s highlight is by far the new preloading function. By selecting “preload” in the settings menu, the app will buffer videos from subscriptions and “Watch Later” queue and allow you to play the clips uninterrupted later on. You’ll still need an active network connection when actually playing the videos, but instead of waiting for them to load, you’ll be able to watch them smoothly anytime you like.

Remote functionality is another new feature added to the YouTube for Android app, which will allow you to play videos from your phone to a connected TV and at the same time use the app’s entire functionality set, including searching for other clips, ‘comment’, ‘like’ or ‘subscribe’. As you might imagine, the feature only works on Google TV-enabled devices for the time being, but the developers have promised to work “to make this broadly available across connected TVs and living room devices, so stay tuned for updates.”

Now for the bad news part of the report. That’s right, it’s not all bright and shiny news for YouTube for Android. The bad news is that the updated app can only work on gadgets running Android 4.0 and up. I know, I know, you’re probably cursing the app’s developers, but if you’re willing to wait a bit longer, the app should be made to work with older devices as well. When exactly will that happen is unknown at this point, but check back on Google Play in a couple of months and you might be in for a treat!

For the time being, those of you running ICS should not hesitate in downloading the new and improved app, as it’s clearly better and more functional than the old one. Do you guys agree? What do you think of the new UI? What about the preloading and remote functionality?