Google: Don’t Mess With Android TV, OEMs
Google puts the breaks on manufacturer customisation of new Android platforms, announced this week.
Android Wear, TV and Auto user interfaces and software will no longer be customized or come with unique “skins’ made by LG, Samsung, Sony et al, and will now be controlled by its creator, Google.
And its all in the name of consistency. Google wants Android TV, Auto and Wear experiences to be almost the same, regardless of manufacturer, and will work and look the same, Google engineering director David Burke told ARS Technica.
This is particularly the case for Android TV. “The UI is more part of the product in this case,” Burke said.
“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.”
As well as user interface and software, Google will also control software updates, which will happen automatically like Chrome updates on a PC. This means the Android platform will be much less ‘open source’ than previous versions of the software found on millions of smartphones and tablets.
So whether you own a LG G Wear or Samsung Gear Live smartwatch, the software experience will be practically identical – the difference will be the hardware only. And ditto for Android TV, which most OEM’s are likely to create hardware for.
The move puts Google back in the driving seat, at a time when companies like Samsung are moving to regain control of its software platform, with projects like Tizen.