• Google Locks Down the UI on Android Wear and Android TV

    In this year’s Google’s I/O note, it announced how it was coming with its own Android OS for the Android Wear and the Android TV.

    However, there is a difference between the Android OS for your smart phones and the Android OS for everything else. Google has stated that OEMs cannot excessively modify or change the user interfaces. In the smart phone market, companies like Samsung and HTC have customized and tinkered with the Android OS to give them a unique feel.

    Android Wear and Android TV

    However, with Android Wear, Android TV and Auto Operating Systems, Google wants to keep a more level of uniformity. So, be prepared for a consistent experience.

    Why Has Google Changed Its Strategy?
    Google’s engineering director David Burke, in an interview to Ars Technica stated, “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 [run] Android TV, we want them to work the same and look the same.”

    So, what happens to the device manufactures? What benefits do they have of producing devices that have this Android OS? Why is Google having a different strategy than what it does with its smart phones? David Burke, in the interview said, “The device manufacturers can brand it, and they might have services that they want to include with it, but otherwise it should be the same.”

    This means that there will be no software like TouchWiz Sense. While uniformity is a welcome factor, it seems that Google’s aim for this move is to have a greater control over the software updates and play a greater role in improving the user experience. In fact having the same OS on wearable without much modification will be useful to developers as well.

    Better Experience for Developers and Users?
    Well, it will be easier to make apps that run on different devices without taking into account the different changes in the OS. With Google intent on pushing out regular updates that can avoid the fragmentation issues it has encountered in the past. It should be remembered that Google’s Nexus devices run a ‘pure’ form of Android and have been acclaimed by critics. In that scenario, we really can do without Samsung or HTC or other companies tinkering with our wearable OS to design a unique OS. True, we might miss out on some company specific apps but it does make the whole situation a lot better for developers and users. In fact, many of the custom variations found in smart phones are quite unnecessary and the stock Android version could do well too.

    For now, we think it is a great idea and something that will change how we interact with Android devices.

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