The newly released Android “sub-platforms” — Android Auto, Android Wear and Android TV — may be based on Google’s mobile OS, but they won’t allow OEMs to change stuff around. Forget about TouchWIZ and Sense UI – Samsung and HTC (respectively) won’t be able to do those sort of things with their car, watch and TV products.
According to Google engineering director David Burke, the UI comes as part of the product. Here’s what he had to say on the matter:
The UI is more part of the product in this case. 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. 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.
In other words, as far as OEMs are considered – Android Auto, Wear and TV come “as is” which will make it harder for them to differentiate their products. Adding custom watch faces and preloaded apps/content don’t cut it in the long run. That said, we have no problems imaging someone like Samsung launching any number of different Android Wear smart watches, featuring different materials, screen shapes and sizes to cover every possible price point.
Google’s decision to take this route is both good and bad. On the plus side, users can expect a consistent interface and timely updates; on the other side, some OEMs will want to move away from the search giant and adopt other platforms, or at least create custom versions of Android for their wrist devices (like Sony is doing).
What do you think about this particular Google decision? Is this the step in right direction or will it move some companies away from Android? Comments form is all yours.