When Google officially unveiled Material Design, their new design aesthetic meant to be used across the board for several different platforms, the look was consistent, familiar even when you switched from Android Auto to Android TV and looked down at your Android Wear-based smartwatch. That’s due to a general restriction on OEM customization for these new areas, but according to a new report from Re/code, those restrictions could get reduced over time.
Google’s restrictions on broad customizations for their new platforms isn’t a complete lockdown by any means, and Google is aiming to never lock down its Android platform, according to the report. While Android Wear was launched with only the option to ultimately customize watch faces (and even that took some time to see the light of day), it’s not some master plan to keep it locked down forever:
“It’s not some Google-way-or-the-highway kind of thing,” the company’s vice president of engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer said in an interview on Tuesday. His comments came as Google rolled out Android 5.0, a.k.a. Lollipop, which is designed to power a wide range of other devices beyond the usual phones and tablets.”
Lockheimer went on to add that while Android Auto, TV and Wear has certain restrictions on customization from manufacturers, this was intended only to make sure that Google had the basics lined up right out of the gate. Moreover, that it is not necessarily a permanent situation. Lockheimer then pointed out the ASUS Zen Watch, an upcoming wearable featuring Android Wear, as a device that will showcase the first signs of OEM customization when it comes to the software.
Google reportedly wanted companies to focus on creating custom applications rather than customizing the software itself. Lockheimer says that this is about finding the right balance between “differentiation and customization.”
In an interesting note, Android Silver was brought up again, saying that A.S. was meant to put the Android brand front and center on mobile devices, but that it was ultimately scrapped when it received lukewarm reception from device makers because they did not want to share their branding with another company or employ a more restricted version of the Android platform on their devices.
Do you think Android Wear, TV and Auto should receive the same sort of customization we’ve come to expect on smartphones and tablets? Or should Google keep it locked down?