Android skins have been a very important and controversial part of Android almost since its inception. Back when Android was young, it was an undeniably bad operating system. Sure, enthusiasts loved it, but it was terrible for general use. Manufacturer skins managed to change that, starting with HTC Sense UI. Sense really showed us how beautiful and powerful Android could be.
Now skins are far less necessary on devices. Stock Android is sexy and functional. Still, custom overlays serve their purpose in that they both differentiate different brands and add functionality Google hasn’t added itself. Skins are still a very important part of the Android market.
However, things will be different for the new variations of Android. Introduced at Google I/O, Android Wear, Android TV and Android Auto all serve their own purposes with purpose-built user interfaces. And with these products, Google won’t be allowing manufacturers to slap custom user interfaces on the software. It’ll have to stay stock, though branding and custom apps and services will still be allowed.
Since these products will be focused on bringing a specific experience with very specific purposes, it’s good to see Google putting its foot down. While I’m sure manufacturers could come up with something amazing, maybe a stock experience on your TV will be perfectly fine. What do you think of Google’s decision? Leave a comment!