One of the reasons carriers and OEMs have been so keen on Android handsets aside from iPhone's previously exclusive setup is the ability to add to the OS to reflect each brand's positioning.
However, the addition of UI layers on top of Android is apparently something Google is looking to clamp down on, with TechCrunch claiming the next flavour of the OS Gingerbread will attempt to serve up a set-up that need not be altered.
The site claims several sources 'close to Google' have stated this will be the first update that genuinely changes the Android user experience, with the OS as a whole being repositioned closer to the set-up offered by iOS.
As such, while it isn't likely to block the right for manufacturers and carriers alike to add to Android, the idea is to serve up a version that makes anything beyond superficial alterations, such as skins, pointless.
It's an understandable aim, given the fragmentation issues Google has had with Android.
It's the very addition of such layers that prevents Android being updated across the board, meaning developers releasing titles for the latest version will often find their title has trouble running on still-prevalent older Android releases.
Regardless, Android's open source and compatibility program manager Dan Morrill recently proclaimed fragmentation on the platform as a 'red herring'.
In his view, the responsibility lies with developers to decide whether they are prepared to sacrifice compatibility with older Android handsets in order to release games 'on the bleeding edge'.
Any practical solutions that can be offered through Gingerbread will likely be met with a slightly warmer reception.
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.
News Feb 29th, 2024
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