Print 15 comment(s) - last by xti.. on Jul 1 at 12:49 PM

Google looks to rein in OEMs with its latest Android forks

It looks as though Google is getting sick and tired of OEMs covering up its hard work with their own UI embellishments and customizations. On the smartphone and tablet fronts, users have grown accustomed to (for better or worse) graphical overlays like TouchWiz and Sense UI on Samsung and HTC devices respectively.
But when it comes to devices that will run Android Wear, Android TV, and Android Auto, OEMs won’t be given the freedom to make sweeping changes to the overall look and feel of the UI. In an interview with Ars Technica, Google engineering director David Burke explained this move, stating, “We want to just have a very consistent user experience, so if you have one TV in one room and another TV in another room and they both say Android TV, we want them to work the same and look the same.”

Google: Don't even think about skinning Android Wear
Burke added, "The UI is more part of the product in this case.”
OEMs will still have some control, however. Burke explains that OEMs will still be able to provide branded services/apps as they have in the past, but Google overall wants a more unified user experience across all devices in the future.
This move should also cut down on the dreaded “fragmentation” word that often gets thrown around when it comes to Android. Burke says that by preventing OEMs from making drastic changes to the UI, Google will hold all the cards when it comes to pushing out major software updates. In this instance, the updates would be "more like Chrome on the desktop” according to Burke.
For now, this directive is aimed at Android Wear, Auto, and TV. It is unknown if this will extend to Google’s widely popular Android smartphone and tablet platforms.

Source: Ars Technica

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By aosp on 6/30/2014 2:21:58 PM , Rating: 2
My larger concern is if Google will share the source code for all these Android products.

It's called the Android Open Source Project for a reason.

I have a fear that the radio silence from Google stems from that all these new Android spin-offs, are likely all closed source.

If so, I'll throw money at any startup that wants to create OSS equivalents to nullify Google walling up Android.

By jwcalla on 6/30/2014 3:00:57 PM , Rating: 2
There is the µg Project out there for providing an equivalent, open source version of GAPPS, which I guess is a step in the right direction.

Regarding the article, the biggest issue I have with it is that Google's UI design has always been extraordinarily awful.

By Brandon Hill on 6/30/2014 3:03:42 PM , Rating: 2
I think that "Material Design" in Android L goes a long way towards fixing that issue.

By Spuke on 6/30/2014 4:03:49 PM , Rating: 2
Android L, at least initially, looks better than I expected. Looking forward to future updates on this.

By jwcalla on 6/30/2014 10:52:07 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno. I think L looks like the worst of them all so far.

By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2014 3:01:09 PM , Rating: 1
This has nothing to do with the source code. Google is not walling up Android.

They are simply tired of OEM's ruining the Android experience for people with poor UI customization's, laggy interfaces, and inconsistencies across the board.

This is also not going to effect the mainline phone and tablet Android OS as we know it. Wear is just another variant of AOSP, with most of the code in AOSP already.

By Jeffk464 on 6/30/2014 8:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I agree with google but I thought android was suppose to be based on open source. As such google can't really control it can they?

User Option
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2014 11:49:45 AM , Rating: 2
So OEM's will be barred from fuxing up the UI, that's great.

But am I correct in assuming USERS will still have the option to install custom launchers etc etc?

RE: User Option
By Jeffk464 on 6/30/2014 8:53:06 PM , Rating: 2
Has either apple or android phone makers ever been successful locking their phones?

RE: User Option
By xti on 7/1/2014 12:49:16 PM , Rating: 2
some phones + carrier combinations barely have abilities to do this.

Note 3 AT&T, you would think is a popular phone, but goes on and off for long periods of time with no root, 100% locked bootloader, etc.

By GulWestfale on 6/30/2014 11:48:16 AM , Rating: 3
this is welcome news. there are certainly some elements of a custom skin that are welcome, but the price you pay in battery life and sluggishness is seldom worth it. all you need on android wear are customizable "dials", and since those are pretty much wallpaper, i guess google will allow them. other than that, keep it simple, and keep it stock. i'm happy with that.

RE: good
By Brandon Hill on 6/30/2014 11:53:33 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I don't think that the watch faces are covered by this, since they are only displayed when the device is "idle".

But overall, this is a GREAT move.

Guess it's time
By coburn_c on 6/30/2014 2:05:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well if Google is going to kill customization I guess I might as well move to Windows Phone. It was really the only thing Android had going for it.

RE: Guess it's time
By Jeffk464 on 6/30/2014 8:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
I thought android was successful because Steve Jobs told everyone who likes porn to switch to android. :)

Oh NO!
By Flunk on 6/30/2014 12:19:32 PM , Rating: 2
How will Samsung ruin their products now?

Oh right, Tizen-powered TVs.

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