Matias Duarte

In the next year, Google wants to bring a single, consistent user experience to every screen you own — and Android is a central part of that plan

This year's Google I/O developer conference was a massively Android-centric affair. The OS dominated the two-and-a-half-hour keynote presentation, which saw a new platform version — Android "L" — previewed to developers, alongside new form factors in Android Wear, Android Auto and Android TV.

After three years of the "Holo" visual style (yes, it's been that long), Google introduced a new design language called Material Design. The move is as significant for Google as the switch from iOS 6 to 7 for Apple, or Aero to Metro for Microsoft — not least because the new design language will pervade every screen on which users view Google's services. Needless to say, that's a lot of screens.

With Material Design, stock Android becomes much more than a bare foundation for OEMs to built atop. It's a visual style intended to present Android as a Google product with a matching personality, same as Chrome OS and Google web services. So it's fitting that as Google prepares this new design language, it's also exerting more control over Android devices, ensuring consumers actually get to see it.

Read on to find out how Google's going to repeat its Chromebook strategy in new product categories to bring "Google experience" software to a wider audience, and how it could leverage its strength in mobile to address one of Chrome OS's greatest weaknesses.

Matias Duarte

Matias Duarte - Google Vice President of Design

Putting Material Design in more hands

A new design language and lofty cross-platform goals are all well and good, but none of that matters if Material Design is obfuscated by the design whims of random hardware manufacturers. That's one of the reasons we've started to see Google claw back some control over how Android is presented to users, particularly in new device categories like smartwatches and set-top boxes.

With Android TV and Android Wear, Google basically farms out hardware duties to partners while maintaining almost total control over the software experience — neither Wear nor TV allows the use of OEM "skins". This approach mirrors what Google has done with its Chromebook line — it manages and updates the user-facing software, the OEM worries about the hardware. Given that Android lead Sundar Pichai ran Chrome before also taking responsibility for Google's mobile OS, perhaps it's not surprising to see a Chromebook-like strategy being adopted for Android smartwatches and TVs.

Google-controlled software on watches, TVs and 'Silver' phones means faster updates and better security.

There are two significant advantages to this approach. First, it allows Google's new and important Material Design language to shine through, unencumbered by manufacturer bloat. Secondly, with software updates for Android Wear and Android TV coming straight from Google, the company eliminates one of the major pain points of Android device ownership. As we've discussed previously, pushing out updates to traditional "skinned" Android devices is a convoluted process involving Google, chipmakers OEMs and carriers. If Google calls the shots directly, the road to release becomes both shorter and smoother. There are fewer cooks in the kitchen.

David Singleton, Android Wear

David Singleton - Android Engineering Director

The Chromebook-like approach also has security advantages. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes' oft-quoted condemnation of Android as a toxic hellstew of vulnerabilities is hyberbolic, but not completely baseless. There are phones barely a year old that may never get the Heartbleed fix, or any other number of important security patches. If the code comes straight from Google, users won't have to wait anywhere near as long for important OS updates, and there should be less disparity between Android versions running across the range of Wear and TV devices.

Does this make Android less open? Maybe. And we've heard nothing official on any AOSP (open-source) release plans for Android Wear just yet — though that's not to say it won't happen. Clearly there's a balance to be found between maintaining an open-source operating system and allowing manufacturer partners to ride roughshod over your platform. For Android Wear and Android TV, Google's edging on the side of control in order to serve its ecosystem needs, and deliver what it believes is the best experience to users.

What's more, there are signs that some Android phones may be moving in a similar direction.

Google's approach to Android Wear and Android TV mirrors its Chromebook hardware strategy.

"Android Silver", the rumored line of high-end "stock" Android handsets said to be coming in early 2015, wasn't anywhere to be seen at year's I/O conference. But given the volume of information on it coming from multiple sources, "Silver" is a rumor to be taken seriously. Read between the lines of recent comments from Android Engineering Director Dave Burke, and it's hard not to come away with the impression that Android Silver is in fact a thing.

Speaking to ReadWrite at Google I/O, Burke suggests Android Silver won't succeed the Nexus device program as some have claimed. But Silver as we currently understand it — essentially a mass-market, carrier-approved version of the Google Play editions program, with specialized hardware designed in partnership with Google — would slot perfectly into the company's new vision for Android across many screens. Like Wear, TV and Chromebooks, you'd have hardware from multiple manufacturers, with Google-controlled software and fast updates.

Android One

Aside from the rumored "Silver," the very real Android One endeavor sees Google directly managing the software on this new line of stock Android devices for emerging markets. Traditional "skinned" Android phones aren't going anywhere, of course, but nevertheless Google seems to be carving out a space for handsets with Google-managed software at both the high and low ends of the smartphone market.

Seasoned Android followers will note that we've been moving in this direction ever since the first rumors of multiple Nexus phones. Now, between Android Wear, Android TV, Android One and possible Android Silver handsets, we're seeing the beginnings of a strong stable of "pure Google" Android products — devices with software Google can update directly.

Android on your Chromebook

Another fascinating but underdiscussed development out of this year's I/O keynote was the arrival of Android apps on Chrome OS. On the surface, running Android apps on a Chromebook seems like a novel way to bring familiar mobile experiences like Vine and Flipboard to a larger screen. But this functionality shouldn't be dismissed as a gimmick — it's a powerful tool Google could use to bridge a big functionality gap.

Chrome OS running Android apps

Don't underestimate the importance of Android apps coming to Chromebooks.

Right now, as a general rule, if it's not available as a web app you can't run it on a Chromebook. Sure, some Chrome apps are available in offline mode, but the OS is online-centric and browser-driven by design. That's less of a barrier to entry now than when the first Chromebooks shipped three years ago. Nevertheless, it's an impasse to broader Chromebook adoption, and Google surely is aware of this. Bringing Android apps to Chrome OS addresses this weakness in Google's desktop presence by leveraging its strength in mobile applications.

The apps demonstrated at the I/O keynote were effectively phone or tablet versions displayed in a fixed window on a Chromebook. However it's not too far-fetched to imagine that, with time, these Chrome-based Android apps might become indistinguishable from the kinds of full-screen, high-powered, resizeable programs we use on Macs and Windows PCs today. In the years ahead, the Google Play Store could become as important a destination for Chromebook apps as it is today for phone and tablet content. In essence, it could provide Google a shortcut to a full-blown desktop app ecosystem.

Material Design on all devices

Google may have found a shortcut to a full-blown desktop app ecosystem.

We don't yet know the technical details of how Android apps will work on Chrome OS, but the demo apps shown during the keynote seemed to be running natively on the Intel-based Chromebook Pixel. If Google can fulfill Sundar Pichai's keynote promise to make apps work on Chrome OS with "as little modification as possible," it could open up these inexpensive laptops to a new world of productivity and entertainment possibilities not available on current Chromebooks. And if that happens, look for Chrome OS to become a much more plausible challenger to Windows and OS X for the majority of consumers, not just those needing a laptop for lightweight web-based tasks.

None of this is going to happen overnight. But assuming Google is playing the long game here, this has to be the company's end goal for Android apps on Chromebooks — to plug functionality gaps that can't be filled by web apps, even if the Chrome browser remains the core focus of Chrome OS.

Material Design music app

The road ahead

Google I/O 2014 revealed Google's vision for Android on just about every computing device you own — whether it's a phone, tablet, television, watch, car or laptop — with a consistent design language across each screen. In 2015 and beyond, Android and Material Design will take their place at the heart of almost every Google hardware endeavor of any significance. And as it does so, the new Chromebook-inspired approach to Android hardware will ensure that Google's new design language is seen by more users than ever before, and that those users are kept up to speed with OS updates. As for Chromebooks themselves, time will tell whether we'll see a slow trickle of select Android apps on that platform, or whether the floodgates will be opened on a world of powerful new apps for Chrome OS.

The yearly cycle of new phones and tablets will continue, with Android L, 64-bit processors and the new ART runtime sure to take next year's Android flagships to new heights in speed and performance. And we're eager to see how the major OEMs adapt their own UIs to take into account the rules of Material Design. One thing's for sure — in 2015, smothering Google's design work beneath a slow, ugly skin will become even less acceptable than at present.

Avni Shah

Avni Shah - Director of Product Management, Chrome

The L Preview puts early code in the hands of OEMs and chip makers, not just app developers.

We're also seeing signs of hope when it comes to keeping existing devices up to date with fresh software. Of course on Nexus, Google Play edition, Android Wear, Android TV, Android One and (eventually) Android Silver devices, updates are basically a non-issue. But the release of an early developer preview for Android L — including source code — gives OEMs a head-start too. "Once we make the preview available we don't have to be as secretive," said Dave Burke at the I/O 2014 Android fireside chat, "so we can share builds, we can share more source with silicon vendors." Burke also suggested that this year's L developer preview represents the shape of things to come for future Android versions — "we shall continue doing it most likely, possibly, not promising, but yes."

Later in 2014 we'll enter the third age of Android — the first being the mess that was the platform before Ice Cream Sandwich, the second being the maturing process that followed through Jelly Bean and KitKat. This third-generation Android is more than just a mobile OS. Through it, Google will attempt to do for the television, automotive and wearable computing spaces what the smartphone revolution did for cellphones. And it'll do so while maintaining greater control over the user experience — and the update process — than ever before.

Time will tell how much of a success this will be. The major competitor in all these new computing frontiers is the almighty Apple — a giant in mobile, and widely rumored to have smartwatch and TV ambitions of its own.

But the platform is mature, and its reach is growing. However things pan out, 2015 is going to be a very interesting year for Android.

 
There are 213 comments

thatguy97 says:

Let's do it

Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5

JeffDenver says:

Long overdue. The sooner vendor skins die the better. Let the Vendors make them into uninstallable overlays so we arn't stuck with them if we don't want them.

Android silver might finally make me want to buy something other than a Nexus.

cordawgfrito says:

Wrong again bob. Give me Sense over stock anyday

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

Right now I agree, Android L is quite possibly the game changer in that.

shaytoon21 says:

beyond ridic. stock skin on android is the only skin it should run, anything else should be a 3rd party

NoNexus says:

It is, it just happens to be you cannot remove it. Besides what do you have against people having choices?

JeffDenver says:

How is not being able to uninstall a skin a choice?

NoNexus says:

If you hate that skin, you have a choice to not buy it and go with another oem

Posted via Android Central App

JeffDenver says:

LOL...well, if you don't like Vanilla Android, then you can buy a non-Android phone. Choice right?

NoNexus says:

Yep, all about choice

Posted via Android Central App

But I dont want any skin whatsoever and I want the HTC One M8 and GPE is not available in my country then?

NoNexus says:

That choice is Google

Posted via Android Central App

You both have valid points, how about this, let oems edit settings skin, launcher skin and notification skin, make them uninstallable/disable-able, and have all the vanilla android skins on the store.

It would be nice not to see lag where oems (Samsung) have delved too deep into the OS.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

Sure but the skin is the default because it is the skins that differentiate the companies (even though those are getting harder and harder to tell apart featurewise)

Chyrux says:

Here's the problem: You people think it's just a skin. It's not. If it was just a skin, it could be easily ported over to many devices. The "skins" are actual frameworks and different apps with their own proprietary libs and everything. You're asking for a switch to make a car to go from a rocket ship to a car and the logic behind it being "they both have engines."

TheMimic12 says:

I think it would be pretty awesome if manufacturers built their custom user interfaces as launchers, so that we could swap between the stock launcher and the manufacturer one. I know HTC is doing it with sense 6. Having the launcher sparser from the os could also allow manufacturers to make alterations to their part of the phone via the google play store instead of waiting on carriers to deliver updates. Pushing as much as they can to the play store, manufacturers can leave only the core operating system to be updated.

Posted via Android Central App

rovex says:

Even though, up to now stock android has been ugly and sucked?

JeffDenver says:

Stock Android became better around the time of the first JB. I would argue that ICS was better than any vendor skin as well.

rovex says:

Well you could argue, but it would be a waste of your time.

+1 everyone stop trying to remove people's choices, or you'll all get your wishes, it won't be pretty.

Posted via Android Central App

masterpfa says:

I'm all for choice, but I preferred the choice my HTC Hero offered when I got my very first Android phone. In the apps drawer there was an app called "Launcher" . When choosing this, default Vanilla Android became not just your launcher but Sense was disabled. The switch between the two was just as simple by choosing HTC Sense as your launcher instead of stock Vanilla.
That is what I can choice.
My introduction to Android was via HTC and Sense and it has remained my favourite OEM skin, but I personally, after delays in getting updates to the OS, resorted to Stock Android on my first ROM in my HTC Hero and soon to be followed by all the Nexus phones to date ( except the Nexus S) and have grown to prefer it immediately.
I would prefer OEM's to install their skins as Themes and as apps that, if needs be, could be disabled by the user, similar to the way Samsung offer with some of their apps on Touchwiz.
I have thought it nonsensical that some devices are unable to update to a later if not latest OS only because of the skin.
Let's have choice I'm all for that, but let's have compatibility (hardware permitting) above all.
Posted via Android Central App

JeffDenver says:

How is it a "choice" if we cannot uninstall their stupid skins? Let them make it an uninstallable launcher...then everyone is happy right?

LiveFaith says:

When I pull the stylus out of my Note, what happens?

I'm loving Sense 6 as well.

jam4775 says:

Over all I do like some OEM launchers over stock too... BUT I believe OEM's should have to give you the option when you setup the phone to choose either the stock google launcher or the OEM launcher. These OEM launchers should be just a skin with additional apps and features that don't completely override/disable stock android features. For example... on the Galaxy Note 3, S Voice overrides the voice activated "OK Google Now" and in order to make OK Google work you have to root and use 3rd party apps... this is BS and I shouldn't have to do this to make native android features like this work... I should have the choice whether I want to use S Voice or OK Google Now.

This issue will become even more of a problem as google expands it's ecosystem into more types of devices (like Google Wear and TV) and tries to make them all work seamlessly. I think it's great that android is open source and OEM's can create their own proprietary ecosystem, but they should not be able to completely disable native android features or inhibit with the google/android ecosystem.

SEGROUKIN says:

OK Google works fine on my Note 3 so don't know what you're about.

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This message was brought to you by the numbers 0 and 1

NoNexus says:

Yeah your wrong about the OK Google thing. The last update from Google changed that at the very least.

Closingracer says:

Ok Google Works Fine on my Note 3 using Touch Wiz ... I am using Google now launcher on my phone as well

Zana Rostami says:

Z

Posted via Android Central App

Closingracer says:

Then To Windows phone I go ... I like Touchwiz so Sue me .... Might move to Tizen as well

Zig261 says:

Google really wants to know us and our daily activities huh?

Posted via Android Central App

Even if its a Samsung phone or even HTC android is still there so them wanting pure android on phones changes noting just the skin.

Posted via Android Central App

JeffDenver says:

No one is forcing you to use Google-anything. Google services are not required to use an Android phone...you do not even have to have a GMail address. It's all 100% voluntary.

If I wanted to (and I was a masochist) I could use 3rd party Maps, Yahoo email, and Bing search on my Nexus device. Google does not force me to use their services on their phone, the way Microsoft and Apple do.

Warrenisit says:

Zig is a compulsive bitcher. Just ignore him.

Jay Holm says:

I've been ignoring him for 5mo's!

Posted via Android Central App

Jonneh says:

accidental post.

demontooth says:

The masses do not want pure Android. The masses want TouchWiz.

The masses don't know what they want. They get what they're told is good.

Posted via Android Central App

brendonsled says:

The masses don't know what pure android is

L0N35T4R says:

THIS

John Nemesh says:

Agreed! I was relatively happy with "TouchWiz" on my S3...until I got a Nexus 7 tablet. I guarantee you my next phone will not have TouchWiz, Sense or anything on it other than stock Android. Either the Google Play Edition S5 or whatever Nexus phones come out this fall will be my choice!

NoNexus says:

You are going to find yourself looking around for the skinned features. I have both and still catch myself from one to the other
Posted via Android Central App

Wicell says:

The truth has been spoken! I have been rocking Samsung/Touchwiz phones since the s2. I'll switch around with an LG or HTC occasionally, but I just like Touchwiz. Got a Nexus 7 (2013) and quite often I'd be browsing for 3rd party apps to bring features that it lacked.

Anonne says:

You can always go Moto. Very little bloat.

Posted via Android Central App

Ry says:

Boom.

"Pure Google" and "Pure Android" are not the same.

JeffDenver says:

LOL

thatguy97 says:

The masses don't know what the hell you're talking about

Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5

jayjay234 says:

Pretty correct statement.

Posted via NEXUS 5

BldyIdt says:

Pure Android is boring.

*grabs popcorn*

Posted via Android Central App

jackdubl says:

I know you're joking, but we do hear this all the time, don't we? What is more boring, I always ask? It's pretty much exactly the same without the extra lag and textures, so I never get this comment.

BldyIdt says:

Yup, it's a joke. I use both stock Android and Sense and I really don't know which one is quicker (in fact I do, it's Sense 6, but my Nexus 7 is quite old, so that would be an unfair comparison).
Stock Android feels a little 'bare-bones' compared to skinned versions. Yes you can do everything you need with stock, but some skins add really nice features.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

Nothing is more boring than stock. Your comment about it being exactly the same is BS. I will give you just one example, out of many, that shows that your statement is incorrect.

The camera app. Name me one skin that has less features than that.

vividrich says:

I rarely used the extra features on my last phone. Now that hdr finally stays selected like I tell it to, my camera works fine for me. The Google launcher and keyboard do nothing for me, that's why I use swiftkey and Nova (which I used on my last phone too).

I'm happy to be on stock. I think I'll be even happier when L comes out.

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

ScottJ says:

It's a camera app, not the OS. This is the problem. Samsung has people thinking that apps are included with a phone constitute the OS.

NoNexus says:

It is part of the skin/os. You cannot get rid of it, so it is core

Posted via Android Central App

jackdubl says:

It is still just an app that can be duplicated with an equivalent or better one from the Play store, so I fail to see how it is the OEM, value-added asset that you seem to be claiming it is. I have had several different phones from different OEM with different skins. My pictures all look pretty much the same. It's a camera app, man.

NoNexus says:

True but I can take that app, add it to me skin and still have more of a feature set than stock, true?

Posted via Android Central App

Impulses says:

I know you aren't arguing that more = better... Right? I don't wanna sound like Jobs here (cause I do think Apple often takes the too far), but half a dozen well designed AND integrated features that are easy to access is better than a dozen that are hard to find/use. Skins walk a fine line in that regard, and most of them don't do it very well. Doesn't mean they should be eradicated, but we can still ask for better.

NoNexus says:

Your right it can be done better (especially in the coding for TouchWiz) but I am sorta arguing that more = better. Most of the features of Sense, TW and EmotionUI work very well. The worst of the bunch is the Smart stay/scroll with TouchWiz. A ton of the other stuff works very well and are not working their way into Android.

Closingracer says:

I like Smart Stay and Scroll ... Some people actually use it

NoNexus says:

I do not have a problem with them, they just are a bit wonky so I stopped trying with them. I have a GS5 laying around I should give it another go and see if it got better.

Closingracer says:

While I agree a lot of people might have no use for it and prefer stock Android ... Why not Go buy a Moto X if your on Verizon or any NExus device if your on Sprint/AT&T and T-mobile? If Google ever made all the OEM's to make Stock Android devices I would consider moving to Windows or even back to IOS. I like Stock Android and all but I like touchwiz and like the fact i have a choice between Stock and A skin

jackdubl says:

That's just a camera app. There are dozens in the market that do the same or more. So if that is why you think OEM is better than stock, because of an app, then you don't even know what people are talking about.

NoNexus says:

Yeah but I can get the same and still have more features than stock.

We are talking core stock vs skin

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

But OK how about 'do not disturb' mode? How about power saver? Those things have been in skins for a long while and just now hitting stock.

Like I said, I gave you one example but there are a lot of themr

Posted via Android Central App

There are many apps for those

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

But I do not have to either go looking for them or wonder if they exist.

I just have them

It just works

Posted via Android Central App

Impulses says:

Feature bloat can be just as bad tho, if people don't realize they have some of that stuff baked in or how to access it. It's a fine line IMO.

monsieurms says:

Isn't it a bit ironic that on a forum where people are constantly talking about custom-designed launchers and rooting phones, suddenly the idea of a Plain Vanilla Google experience is nirvana?

There are things in Samsung's skin that aren't apps--like the pull down toolbar arrangement of options. But downloading apps for EVERYTHING isn't always a perfect solution. How much grief was saved for its users by Samsung when KK came out because they had a built-in File Manager and HTC, for example, didn't? There were a lot of confused HTC users on the forum wondering what to do. Samsung users didn't notice.

By analogy, when Firefox's constant updates kept changing the look-and-feel, on the support forum you always got the same answer: Oh, you can download an extension for that! Well, first you have to know that. Then you have to figure which configuration options do what you want (wasn't so easy!) and then you have to hope the extension doesn't "break" in the wake of FF's constant upgrades. Here was my solution: I went to Pale Moon instead. :)

I think one sort-of simple solution that comes from this thread is apparent (as noted by JeffDenver): Fine, let the original OEM build be pure Google. But let the manufacturers make their own skins---as long as it is the equivalent of an app. Meaning, they can be uninstalled and ditched, and you have to make an affirmative choice to take them. While it is not 100% appealing in some respects--work, effort--that makes the purists happy and let's those who want a manufacturer-centric experience do what they want. Choice is the Android way.

Wicell says:

I love this comment, so many points that are just spot on, especially the built in File Manager quip. The dispute I have here is the app equivalency, it's a great concept, but the time it takes to make a feature that can just be uninstalled and not break the rest of the system because it's integrally linked to all the other features in some way is not cost-effective.

"OEMs make enough money off of their phones, they should be able to spend time doing that without worrying about cost."
While they do make money, you gotta remember, they divide that money, cost of hardware, cost of logistics, cost of maintenance, cost of employees, and the cost of R&D. When you can make a skin where are the features are inter linked and have things running smooth (don't jump down my neck for this saying of smooth running, it's all in a sense), without the ability to uninstall features and it only takes XX amount of days and XXXXXX amount of dollars, or you can make a skin with same layout and feature set, with uninstall-ability, but it takes double XX amount of days and 2-3 times XXXXXX amount of dollars, because you have to make sure things work when you remove a piece of the arch. The first option wins.
it gives the company more time to update and maintain current phones, as well as design and test the next phone.

"3rd party apps can have the same capabilities as a 'core' feature/app, that should provide the bridge for the gap if you remove a 'core' feature/app."
They CAN have the same capability, but it doesn't mean they are written to be able to jump in. Let's use DNA as an example; the Touchwiz camera is written as ACTGGA, that means the skin's connection to camera functionality is TGACCT. If a 3rd party camera is written as ATCGCT, it's not going to bridge. Yes, somewhere the phone has a connection that allows the 3rd party to work, but if it's missing the core connection, then the camera is broken.

BldyIdt says:

Like NoNexus said, the thing is that these are already there when you buy the phone, so you don't have to search the play store to add more features to your phone.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

No the masses do not want TouchWiz, Sense, EmotionUI or whatever skin. What they want is a full featured UI that has some bells & whistles that makes life easier. Up until now with Android L they have not gotten that from Google. What they have gotten was a very bare OS that required the skins to give it the WOW factor. The OEMs have done a good job (no matter which one) at doing that.

Android L is a huge leap in that direction and a good one from what I have seen so far.

BldyIdt says:

Nicely said.

Posted via Android Central App

tigerchilly says:

Can't wait for Android L

moved from nexus 5 to HTCm8

ScottJ says:

You are full of it, as usual.

NoNexus says:

How so?

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Wicell says:

You know he likes trying to get under your skin, don't entertain him :)

udazavlanje says:

+1

Posted via Android Central App

tonymhoffman says:

Right.

I don't know many people that would walk into a carrier.. Pick up a nexus 5 and a HTC One M8 and say I really love this nexus 5 software. Its bland.

In 1yr the same person will be drawn to any device running L because their is that interaction with the user the software provides.

I was a little skeptical of Sundar leading android but now I'm beginning to see he was the best thing for it.

Posted via Android Central App

Ry says:

..the masses want whatever is marketing the best to them. The masses don't know what TouchWiz is. They just want a Samsung phone.

NoNexus says:

They want the features shown off by the Samsung marketing

Posted via Android Central App

Impulses says:

Yup, even if they don't use them later. Their latest ads seen to focus less on the gimmicks tho, and more on camera, battery, weather resistance, etc. They've got a way better handle on marketing than any other OEM either way, that's been at least half the reason for their success. HTC may have great designs but their marketing is still way too offbeat.

Impulses says:

I don't have a problem with skins, some are good and some are bad... Most could be better implemented so they aren't impossible to extricate, I happen to like Moto's more modular approach better but that's probably got as much to do with the handful of key features they decided to add as with the approach itself.
.
I do disagree that L is suddenly a HUGE earth shattering step forward in functionality available out of the box on stock tho. I think of you're gonna declare that you may be highly biased by the phones you've had lately and the order in which you've gone thru them.
.
As someone who jumped into Android with Sense (and loved it), I went from really liking it despite the bloat (first two EVOs) to realizing it'd gotten pretty stale (EVO LTE). Shortly after ICS, Android had incorporated nearly all useful Sense functionality outside of the camera...
.
Then HTC went and overhauled Sense for a second time and added some more bells and whistles with the M7 & M8, many of which stock Android is now incorporating again. My point is it's a cycle, and I'm not seeing a HUGE paradigm switch all of a sudden. Even desktop OS have gone thru the same cycle of absorbing more and more features that used to require extra apps.
.
Android started more bare bones and ugly than what some people are used to (specially on mobile), but it's following a pretty typical OS progression. A DND mode and battery saver mode aren't suddenly transforming the stock OS any more than lock screen music controls and HOLO did two years ago.
.
HTC's battery saver mode never seemed to save me a whole lot and their battery reporting towards the end was terrible for me btw... Sometimes the phone would shut down as soon as I got the 5% warning (or even earlier), sometimes it'd go an hour more. Maybe I'm just remembering the effects of 1 year of use on a battery, but 6 months in my Nexus 5 is wayyy more consistent (can take it to 5% and still have time to reach the charger, always) despite no battery saver mode.

Epic Tea says:

The Android L Preview is only about 30 maybe 40% of what the final version of L will Actually look like. The Status Bar doesn't match the one shown at google I/O neither does other UI elements not to mention Major App Redesigns that aren't on the Preview except the phone and calculator.

Trust me the Final Version will be A Much Bigger Change than even the preview is showing.

Impulses says:

App redesigns would happen regardless tho, I imagine anyone on KK is gonna get them as well (at least for the core apps that really matter, calculator and whatnot = whatever). I'm not trying to diminish L, I just don't think it makes OEM skins any more irrelevant than HOLO & ICS/JB did.

My point was that Android has been absorbing features for a long time, and this will be it's second major UI facelift. It's great, but it's not a game changer one way or the other (bad skins may very well stay bad, good ones well find new useful features to add). I may be taking things out of context to an extent tho, things like "wow factor" are pretty hard to quantify. ;)

swagsaunders says:

Agreed.

Posted via Android Central App

monsieurms says:

If true, that's great. But while I'm reading the articles on people playing with Android L, most of us haven't had that chance....so....all I can say is, we'll see. As it is, Google has not demonstrated they are always right about things.

I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.
Johannes Kepler

NoNexus says:

He also said that, and I am paraphrasing as you did, that Creation puts an end to all discussion.

Things change over time and now the approval of the masses is the most important thing to a corporation. Approval of the masses = $$$$

Jonneh says:

What is the mass of the masses?

MrJazz says:

Who dresses this guy?

brendonsled says:

He's a big boy

exkerZ says:

Well he is mature and grown up

Awesome. I used to love touchwiz and to an extent j do but I like the touchwiz on the galaxy s3 doesn't ha e features like the s4 but it's functional less laggy and it works. I love stock android now its beautifully done.

Posted via Android Central App

jackdubl says:

The S3 had the most optimized version of touchwiz ever. Before and after, it has been much laggier. I bought a used S4 to replace my S3. It lagged so much on every touchwiz rom I installed that I ran side by side testing with my S3. It did every routine thing that didn't involve brute cpu processing slower than the S3; I was gonna turn around and sell it. Then I found a Google Play Edition rom and all problems were solved.

casiouser says:

I honestly don't think most people care. I'm pretty sure most people don't root or put roms on their phone. They just want a phone that works and they can get accessories for. If a Google play edition was as easily available as a vendor edition Android phone, I'm not sure the regular customer would choose the GPE.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

The S5 and Note 3 would disagree. The TW on the S4 was a problem.

thatguy97 says:

^this on release I remember the s4 had a good bit of stutter and issues on release ( experience from best buy)
Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5

jackdubl says:

You may want to check the youtube side-by-side comparison showing the lag on the S5 next to an M8. You push the buttons at the same time, but the S5 loads everything a split second later than the M8. That's the lag people are talking about. Pretty much the same thing I noticed when I did a side-by-side with my S3 an S4 running touchwiz.

NoNexus says:

I don't have to, and that means nothing since we do not know the conditions those videos were taken under.

I don't have to because I can walk over and do it myself. I have a drawer full of stock, no apps installed phones, that I can do the comparison with.

Posted via Android Central App

s2weden2000 says:

That's right!
... ( 0ppo F5) ...

Gator352 says:

This is what Apple has been saying for years now. Should we now call Google Applegoo? I think choice is good whether it's the skin or design of the phone we choose and Google has now effectively taken one of those out of the equation. I know, launchers can differentiate but that's not the point.

Posted via Android Central App

1746bklynave says:

I'm pretty sure Google didn't say you can't have OEM skins or customizations. They aren't going away because that would essentially defeat the purpose of Android silver of stock android.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

Skins are not going anywhere is absolutely true. Silver will just add another to the mix, one that is more stock, but it is still half a skin

Impulses says:

That semantics argument is pointless tho, who cares what AOSP constitutes if no one actually ships a device running AOSP... Cause you can't anyway, cause you need too many custom drivers for a proper experience etc. Calling Google's launcher a skin is a bit overboard tho, it IS easily replaced, unlike completely skinned/replaced elements in other skins. Even Moto's stuff barely qualifies as a skin anymore. I'm a big fan of their modular approach where they focused on a few key features and have updated then thru Play etc. We'll have to see if it's a sustainable approach that the market welcomes tho...

Stock Android is the best.All other skins take away from the beauty of Android.

cordawgfrito says:

Sorry no. Sense is the best.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

No stock is ugly, TW is not better, Sense is really nice

ScottJ says:

No. You're wrong. See how easy that is?

NoNexus says:

See the difference is that I can back up what I say.

Tell me how I am wrong. Impart your facts on us.

Posted via Android Central App

Lanzeelus says:

Yet you did not back up what you said. You simply responded to someone's opinion by stating "No", added your own different opinion, and didn't support your opinion with any sort of reasoning or facts. Then, ScottJ responded satirically by repeating exactly what you did. Then, you mistook his response for an actual rebuttal to your opinion and proceeded to go into full-on defense mode.

And THAT is how pointless internet fights begin.

rovex says:

Sales? People on sites like this think the Nexus is the be all and end all, but really, no one actually cares if it exists or not.

barondebxl says:

Touchwiz has way more features. Its the best all around skin.

Posted via Android Central App

tigerchilly says:

Stock

moved from nexus 5 to HTCm8

Icefire93 says:

Does this mean the Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 will be forced to use Stock Android and not TouchWiz or Sense, when they are released? If this is true, this will lead to faster phones and faster updates. :D

Alex Dobie says:

That's absolutely not what I'm saying. Android skins aren't going anywhere.

Icefire93 says:

O ok, kinda confused to what this means, could this mean while TouchWiz and Sense are here to stay, that the Google Experience Launcher could be made available to all devices, allowing for a more consistent user experience.

Ry says:

..and they shouldn't. "Skinning" Android is part of Android's openness.

pagger says:

Google does come across as they are trying to lock down a bit. That's the reason samsung been huffing n puffing about tizen..bluff bluff

from my old note3 which i had to sell my soul for;)

sojibby says:

Yeah, huffing and puffing by offering better Google Now integration, adding in Chrome browser, giving knox security to upstream Google, releasing an Android Wear watch at Google i/o, having Google help defend at trial, embracing thd recents button, and toning down touchwiz. I bet Google is just shaking. Sammy and Googy are friends now man, move on.

joswald76 says:

Remove Carrier based updates, and search results for Verizon will drop. No more come on verizon, or where is my update verizon. As a note 3 owner (and Galaxy Nexus before that), I'm very tired of wondering where my update is.

cordawgfrito says:

Exactly. I remember when HTC set the deadline for the KitKat update and all other versions got it but the carrier branded devices. Manufacturers should ban together and say we control the updates not you to the carries.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

You can get away with that for the most part with GSM, but not at all with CDMA. On top of that, Lets see how far that goes. The OEM says it, the carriers band together and say "your phone is not going on our network" and were done here...

They can block any phone from any network that they want.

Lanzeelus says:

You seem to be implying that all four major carriers are best buddies who look out for each other and go out for drinks on weekends. I could see manufacturers joining together to achieve a standard sooner than I could see the higher ups from the Big 4 having a civil meeting in a conference room (although both seem fairly unlikely).

NoNexus says:

No I am responding to the original post. If the oems band together, the carriers can as well

Posted via Android Central App

Lanzeelus says:

I'm not saying that the idea of the OEMs banding together is anything but far fetched, but implying that the carriers coming together, agreeing to ban all phones on their networks, and allowing themselves to be manhandled by Apple is in the same realm of possibility is somewhat ridiculous. The many Android OEMs are hardly best pals either, but I would bet anything that there is far less animosity between them than there is between the four major US carriers, not to mention that the OEMs would have far more to gain in this hypothetical.

Impulses says:

OEM have more power than some are giving then credit for IMO...

Samsung forced their own brand down carrier's throats, all the US carriers wanted to keep going with carrier specific models but early on Samsung started to emphasize the Galaxy name over the carrier specific models (Captivate, Epic, etc). By the time they released the third Galaxy they did away with carrier specific models and released the same phone on all four simultaneously.

It may not have been a very public reaction, but you can bet carriers were none too happy about that, and it only took Samsung 2 years (well, and millions in marketing) to force that, by themselves no less (thus paving the way for HTC/LG to follow suit).

The CDMA argument has some merit, but Sprint has shown they're pretty open to whatever (they're not in a position where they can do otherwise), even if they're not rolling out a red carpet for stuff like the Nexus 5 (activation of Play bought units was messy at best). So it's really only one carrier that could/would resist an increased OEM push for less bloat and charging the way updates are handled.

Mild market demand isn't gonna drive that tho, gotta come from the top, I'm sure OEM get a cut from carriers on the bloat and they save a bundle by letting carriers handle update distribution... OTOH don't the OEM already handle that outside the US?

Impulses says:

That being said, the update process is broken from ALL ends; it's not just carrier bloat/approval, not just OEM skins, shoot even Google contributes to it and they NEVER get any flak for it. They share code in advance with some OEM, tho mostly the Nexus OEM, which puts others in somewhat unfair positions, and announcing a new version to THEN after they showcase it send the OEM scrambling to work on it was always unfair.

Secrecy may have been important early on but I'm glad it looks like we're past that now... Releasing a developer preview SIX MONTHS before launch WITH source code is huge and it's implications haven't been emphasized enough. The timing is still tricky cause they've done it a bit out of pace with the major OEM flagship releases but still.

If an OEM wanted to release a flagship phone in December or January they could now launch it with L, barely a month after the next Nexus (if there is one). Combined with increased transparency and speed from the likes of HTC and Moto, that's a big step. Doesn't do much for the economies of the process tho, a mid range or previous gen phone is still far too likely to get left behind. (even worse for tablets which most can't finance or buy on contract but should by all rights last more than a phone)

nokia4life says:

this is great to hear i love android and iOS nothing like seeing both grow and make changes for the better can't wait.

Vultoreax says:

Down with TouchWiz and Sense!

Yeah having choice sucks! I wish there was only one Android phone to choose from, so I could be told what is best for me! Oh wait.... this sounds familiar.

NoNexus says:

Blackberry?

Impulses says:

Oversimplification is a bad oversimplification... Last I checked there's only one WP8 and Windows 8 but there's plenty of WP and Windows phone/laptop choices (and there aren't more WP simply because it hasn't gained more traction, largely due to timing, not cause their approach was flawed). Shoot, there was only one RIM/BB OS and they still had quite a bit of hardware variety in their heyday. Choice is good, even for software, but Sense/TW aren't necessary for a One and S5 to exist.

NoNexus says:

Sure it is. I get that hardware can be different and change the user experience but the changes in software is what sets phones apart right now.

I like the Moto X and hardware wise it is nice. I wouldnt use it as a daily driver because it does not do what my Note 3 can do. I got rid of the Droid Charge (for a lot of reasons) and went to the ReZound in part because at the time Sense was much better (still is).

The silver line should provide that generic vanilla experience that some users will want. I will keep my skin, be it TW or Sense (still not a big fan of LG but getting there)

Budius says:

"We don't yet know the technical details of how Android apps will work on Chrome OS"

During the keynote they clearly pointed out that the ART have been built from the bottom to be multi-platform (MIPs, ARM, x86) and multi-architecture (32 or 64 bits).

It doesn't take much to understand that this is how (technically speaking) ChromeOS will run Android apps. It's a Linux kernel running the some runtime environment as Android do.

The "as little modification as possible," part is probably a reference that native applications (NDK), will need an x86 build to run on it.

sounds plausible?

Alex Dobie says:

Yeah, this is most likely how they're doing it: an x86/x86-64 ART runtime sitting on top of Chrome OS. Google hasn't explicitly said this yet, which is why I didn't mention it.

Posted via Android Central App

Budius says:

yeah, agree. As a news site, you guys shouldn't speculate that far as I did. But from a tech point of view I couldn't resist.
Good article!

dietrichmd says:

I wonder, could this also be ported to Chrome browser on desktop? I know there is a program out there that runs android apps on top of windows, but from my experience in the late beta stage, it was buggy and slow. Thoughts?

Budius says:

I don't think it will happen. The Android app on Chromebook is not running on the Chrome browser, it's running on the Linux kernel and ART environment side-by-side with the browser. The Chrome browser on a Windows machine is running on a completely different architecture (Windows). And it's just a browser.

Wrong. Android runtime in Chrome OS runs as a Chrome plugin in Native Client, this was discussed in the Crhomium OS forum. I am waiting for the code...

This means it will potentially run on platforms on which the Chrome browser runs.

dietrichmd says:

@stephan lemme know if you want a beta tester :)
That sounds cool, if it will work. I know a few android apps that would be good ports to the desktop world :)

Budius says:

would you have a link for that?

saxamoophone says:

Should be an interesting year. If Google can minimize the need of manufactures to change android code this could just work. Just means they will have to be more proactive in developing APIs for things like IR Blasters (check), Heart rate monitors (TBD?), etc.

Posted via Android Central App

TomW093 says:

What if users don't like Google's interface and want HTC's or Samsung's?

NoNexus says:

Then you buy it. They are not getting rid of skins

Posted via Android Central App

TomW093 says:

I was speaking in terms of Android Wear, Auto and TV.

NoNexus says:

Still, you don't buy it. TV and auto will be automatic, wear you cannot change.

The I watch is coming. There is going to be choices.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

Still, you don't buy it. TV and auto will be automatic, wear you cannot change.

The I watch is coming. There is going to be choices. K

Posted via Android Central App

Warrenisit says:

Touchwiz and Sense aren't going anywhere.

S4Rs says:

One way to do this is to force the stock launcher, calendar, and people apps to be backed into every phone rom. Let HTC or Sammy have custom launchers by default, but dont force users to have to find and download the stock launcher from the store if they want to switch from the settings menu. Most "lite" users will probably look through those settings once when they get the phone and when they see no other launchers, they will never go back there again.

Also Google needs to release the stock people, and launcher apps in the store for everyone. I dont know why that hasn't happened yet.

NoNexus says:

So be Apple is what you want? Go for it. You have that choice

Posted via Android Central App

Impulses says:

I thought they released the launcher and calendar, the contacts app is probably harder to replace cause skinned versions have a million hooks they depend on. Is HTC still using that ham fisted tag within contact comments to link them? It works well, just a terrible solution from a technical point of view (go see your contacts on a non HTC device afterwards and it's a mess).

Vast majority of people aren't gonna replace their launcher or calendar regardless of what's possible... It's one of the aspects that makes Android great, for better or worse, and also one of the most ignored by the masses.

deeb215 says:

I still want options so I hope OEM's can still tweak it a bit unlike Android Wear but not a total departure from Google's scheme. Dat new Nexus tab tho...

NoNexus says:

Yeah what about it? What is it? Who makes it? What does it run?

Posted via Android Central App

deeb215 says:

What tablet is that in the pic with the Chromebook and n5?

NoNexus says:

You tell me

Posted via Android Central App

deeb215 says:

Call me crazy, but I say it's the new nexus tablet releasing with android L in the Fall.

NoNexus says:

Link?

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

I really do not doubt it, I just won't put the cart before the horse.

The tech world changes so quickly you get burned if you do

Posted via Android Central App

jbern8 says:

I think Google's got it backwards they should be bringing the full chromebook experience to android! A chrome browser/desktop that can do everything a chromebook can do and it runs on any hardware, android tablets, android laptops all while being fully sandboxes and secure. CromeOS as an app.

Really good article. Excited about what's to come!

jbern8 says:

While android is open source there needs to a a bottom layer that cannot be touched if you want play store, manufactures should be allowed to skin , add launchers , apps, and be responsible for hardware drivers , but it need to be more abstract from the bottom layer itself just like any app that's downloadable from the play store. This way Google will be able to control the update process muchn more seamlessly.

NoNexus says:

Sure but it has to be installed by default. If not all you have is Apple because most people buy a phone and do not change a thing.

A great deal of the money that comes into my house is derived from phones and what they are capable of, yet my wife will not change the default home screens from what comes with the phone.

Posted via Android Central App

bryanw504 says:

I love choice its what has made Android well Android. With that being said I also have gotten very tired of Touchwiz, Sense and any other skin that comes from the top phone makers. Back in the day Vanilla Android was no doubt bland very bland, so folks like Samsung and HTC had to add additional features to make it usable and functional. And I think somewhere down the line that became a way for those companies to differ from one another. But since Android has grown and added more of those features that were lacking in the earlier versions of Android I really think skins may not need to be preinstalled on the device, but rather take the google approach like they do with their core apps (gmail, maps, ect...) and place the skin in the Play Store as a download (I don't know if this is possible because of how heavily Sense and Touchwiz are embedded into the core system of Android, it's not just a launcher). But if it is possible I think it could work if Samsung and HTC really feel strong about their loyal fan base then they would download it and not use Vanilla Android. It could also benefit Samsung and HTC because they could just update their skin in the Play store leave the Android updates to Google so they come out faster to all phones. Not sure if it will work but its worth a try.

NoNexus says:

They only started adding those features in 'l'

Posted via Android Central App

cgardnervt says:

Thank god this is finally happening! :)

demontooth says:

How many of you really use pure Android. And I'm talking PURE Android. No xposed.
Posted via Android Central App

rovex says:

Few, and I bet many use other launchers. Hell, even the Google launcher isn't part of stock Android!!

NoNexus says:

Beat me too it.

No nexus user uses pure android

Posted via Android Central App

My wife and her phone...
My tablet...
My mother's phone...
Two of my coworkers...

I know more stock Android users than not, so I guess that's no one, right?

Posted via Android Central App

eahinrichsen says:

Keep in mind that these guys are differentiating between "stock Android" (which is an AOSP-only build) and "pure Google" (which is what you get on a Nexus device, and contains proprietary modifications to the AOSP code). Most people use the terms interchangeably, but they're not technically the same thing. The people you're talking about almost certainly aren't using a ROM that's compiled directly and solely from AOSP.

...unless they like their privacy and don't want the Google framework?

Posted via a Sony Z1

rovex says:

People did actually read the article right? It doesn't mean the end to OEM customisations at all, it just means Google has finally got its act together and made all its apps and services look the same, rather than a hideous mess of failed UI experiments.

Ry says:

Thank you for saying "pure Google". Google Play Services, Google Now launcher, and all the other proprietary Google apps aren't "pure Android". I would hope more tech writers would begin to make this distinction. 

NoNexus says:

+1

Posted via Android Central App

Impulses says:

What's the point of getting bogged down in semantics? The only Android devices that ship without those things or the ability to run them (the launcher being a minor sticking point, it IS on Play tho) are Amazon's Fire devices... We don't know how well they sell but frankly I'm not expecting them to grow beyond the tablet niche for Prime lovers (we'll see how the phone does).

If we were talking about the Chinese market or something it might be relevant but I don't see why people get bent out of shape over the interchange between stock, vanilla, pure Android, pure Google, Google Experience, HOLO, pure Material, Matias Experience, or whatever terminology people mix up. It's almost always obvious what they're referring to. When someone's talking about a Fire or Cyanogenmod or AOKP they say Fire, CM, etc.

Orion78 says:

Great job Google!!

gatorboi352 says:

So when do they officially drop the Android branding from it all?

Posted via Android Central App

I'm all for it. You don't have to not allow them to add useful features, just don't take the experience away. They really took this idea from Windows phone. I can name a number of features that a Nokia lumia has that an HTC or Samsung Windows phone don't, but the user interface is the same.

Posted via Android Central App

jrb363 says:

Yet again another excellent article by Alex! It's unfortunate your American counterparts aren't nearly as well written as you are. Their constant drivel is sickening compared to your articles.

I want sense its faster than stockandroid

Posted via Android Central App

BB_Bmore says:

The only skin worth saving is sense. Sense is better than stock Imo it's not even close.

Posted via nexus 7

Watch speed tests on utube

Posted via Android Central App

rovex says:

Speed isnt everything, plus if you load up a Nexus with even half the apps and features an OEM phone has it starts to LAG.

How do u know that. Did u compare with sense 6. Example Nexus 5-M8
Posted via Android Central App

turb0wned says:

I said it so many times and people on here didn't agree with me. Google needs to be more like Apple, hate it or love it it needs to happen. Apple has even opened up since Cook took over, it's time for Google to be more like Apple.

Phones stuck on old updates, never getting updated or getting updates a year later is unacceptable.

Zig261 says:

Google can't be like Apple because Apple has their system centralized from creating their own hardware and software with tight control. There's only one brand Apple controls and it's Apple.

Google has hundreds of outside brands to deal with when it comes to controlling their software. No to mention all those brands have different agendas for their phones that may or may not work with what Google wants the phones to be used.

Posted via Android Central App

rovex says:

No. Apple is totally dependant on updates because it doesnt have a decentralised services system like Google and it has far less features (so needs updates). If you have 4.0 or above on Android its hard to tell the difference which version. Base OS updates are far less important on Android devices and even less important on OEM phones that already have more features and APIs than stock android.

shamosi says:

"Esmail Beshikchi" the famous Turkish sociologist in an interview with Soran universities website says "Kurdish people should ask for something that till now they didn’t have it, which is independency", he mentioned that Kurdish people are the biggest nation on the earth, and till now they are without independent government.

http://www.soran.edu.iq

Premium1 says:

I wish skins would disappear and OEMs would compete on hardware. I am not one who would see stock android on every device as a bad or restrictive thing.

rovex says:

Stock android (on the nexus devices) is buggy, unoptimised, featureless and dated, why would people want that? L does look much better, but from the preview it still lacks features and the level of integration of the best OEM skins.

Impulses says:

Yeah, OEM skins are sooo well integrated and optimized... Like Samsung replacing functional voice commands with the joke that is S Voice or HTC merging contacts with a hashtag-like line in comments that only works in HTC devices (so contacts end up a mess on tablets/computers etc). Samsung and Sony had an updated BT stack that showed track titles years before stock, yet stock still beat Sense to it.

I'm not against skins at all, I've had three HTC devices and loved Sense even early on, but you're making some gross generalizations. Stock has been absorbing features from OEM skins for years, it didn't start with L, two years ago Sense had actually grown stale and featured very little that ICS/JB didn't, so HTC overhauled it for a second time. It's a natural process.

OEM are always gonna throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks, and stock is gonna keep absorbing the best of it. Some lambast the wall and break things in the process while ALSO striking key innovations (Samsung), others snipe at it (Moto), to clump it all together with vast generalizations is an exercise in futility.

Nothing is more dated than a one year old tablet that won't get L because the OEM released two more models after it since tho, yet at the same time we might not have 7" tablets and phablets and convertibles if OEM didn't have the freedom to throw stuff out there just to see what sticks and what fails miserably.

Impulses says:

Despite having gone entirely down the Nexus route lately (Nexus 5 & 7), and not really missing much from Sense/etc, I still think locking down Wear to the extent that they appear to be is dangerous. Plenty of ideas that are now part of the core OS originated and were refined on OEM skins...

If you lock down Wear too much you run the risk of stifling innovation... It's fine on TV IMO (you need the control for content licensing issues), the hardware is the main differentiator there anyway (the TV itself, or what X or Y box is capable of as far as inputs/controllers b etc).

Likewise, it's fine on Auto, the car's the thing anyway... But for Wear, if OEM can't throw stuff at the wall and attempt to take platform in crazy directions because they have no control over software, then it can easily stagnate. Smaller tablets, convertibles, phablets, etc all happened because OEM had freedom to add a stylus driver and UI or a keyboard driver...

If an OEM can't easily build an exercise geared Wear device with GPS or some other permutation Google hasn't even dreamed of then that's a problem... Unless it's just gonna stay strictly a notification/Now/jewelry platform.

I need to shut down my hangout app. SMS. I HAVE MMS TEXTS AND PHOTOS. I can't receive my photos through MMS it go hangout app. Still can't receive Photos. It download some where. I don't know where they went. ESPERANZA COLIN thank you.

Please answer questions ESPERANZA COLIN

MasterElwood says:

BOOOH! Android should be about choice!

LISTEN GOOGLE: Here is how it´s should be:

First time you start a device (or after every factory reset) the first screen you see is: "please choose: google android - or XXX (touchwiz, sense, phil-blur...) Android".

BOOM! Problem solved.

Jay Hova1 says:

I think the best way for this is from a boot screen, which will allow you to boot into android L or the oems skin all whole sharing the same information and data, (like all your games and files will load on to either)

barondebxl says:

Nooo please no. We need different skins.

Posted via Android Central App

tokuzumi says:

While this kind of removes some of the customization ability of Android, and causes Android to lose some of that "openness" that we've touted in the face of Apple and Microsoft users, I'd rather have more of a Google experience on my devices. It's what I've done with my S4, without root. I've side-loaded the Google Now launcher, use Chrome, Google Voice, and Hangouts. The only time I really see TouchWiz is when I'm in the settings menu, the lock screen, and the notification drop down. Plus, if it means that manufacturer customizations will basically be apps that can be downloaded from the market (much like Motorola and to a much lesser degree, HTC), we will be able to essentially choose between what Samsung/HTC built into their software suite, or have a more Google Play Edit experience. It's win-win for the consumer, and allows each manufacturer to appeal to a broader set of customers.

Wicket says:

these are exciting times. HOLO was a stepping stone to what I would now consider Android looking the way it's always functioned. In other words, Android has always had functionality but pre ICS it wasn't much to look at compared to competition that had a knack for design and let's not forget to mention control over it. Android L is an important step in Androids growth and I can't wait to see how all these screens in our lives work together in day to day life!

rrballer11 says:

This will greatly improve sales

Posted via Android Central App

Vijay07 says:

Samsung will not agree.

Posted via Android Central App

Now that I do want to see Sammy will throw a fit if it can't use resource hungry TouchWiz on top

Posted via Android Central App

I don't like any launchers, I use apex on every device. The settings/notifications would be nice to skin too, god forbid they standardize those, how very boring.

Posted via Android Central App

HeroicLove says:

This is unprecedented news!

Posted via Android Central App

plunder says:

I do wonder how difficult it will be for Google to achieve more uniformity across the platform. Many phone makers and carriers use "skins" to differentiate and limit user options. I like the ideas and vision, but a lot more work will be required.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

Limit user options? Ummm...no. You can still change anything you want. You cannot get rid of some features but you do not have to use them either.

cizzlen says:

Great now I'm going to be forced to use stock Android? No thanks. The reason the public buys Samsung, LG and HTC is because of OEM skins that add and introduce new features that make each phone stand out from the other. Design wise, OEMs should be free to do as they please while following Material Design language - no problem with that. But don't for a second think that everyone wants to be on stock Android.

NoNexus says:

As the article says, skins are not going anywhere.

cizzlen says:

True, I'm just saying though.

Samsung is at the top of their game right now. If they go to a stock Android experience (maybe throw in a couple of their cool features, no son!) they are really going to dominate the market that much more. A Galaxy Note 4 with stock Android 5, yes please!

Posted via Android Central App

robotaholic says:

Excellent article