Last week, Google I/O brought us some early looks at a few different ways Android is expanding to find homes on new device, with new form factors, while providing a situation-aware interface that means that not everything’s going to look like a shrunken-down or blown-up phone. Just as Android Wear keeps things simple and uncluttered to fit its smaller display, Android Auto gives drivers the information they need without being excessively distracting, and Android TV lets us navigate its menus from ten feet away. Considering how important the look and feel of each of these Android branches is to their functionality, it’s not too surprising (but nonetheless pleasant) to hear that Google’s not going to be letting OEMs confuse the situation with the introduction of custom skins.
Before you start going too excited, that this heralds a new world of clean, unfettered Android, there are some caveats to keep in mind. As Google’s David Burke explains, even with Google maintaining control over the general appearance and operation of its interface with these projects, device manufacturers will still have the ability to put their branding front-and-center, as well as load these devices with their own services – so it sounds like bloat could still be sticking around to one extent or another.
Overall, this sounds like promising news, although it still remains to be seen how the situation might shift as these platforms develop; everyone’s on the same page as things get started, but as manufacturers try to keep ahead of the pack with the introduction of new features and abilities, will this dream of a consistent UI fall by the wayside? We’ll have to see just how committed Google is to this goal of interface homogeneity as these new homes for Android start to take off.