While Android’s Openness and the ability to customize it pulled OEMs towards it and was one of the crucial reasons to why Android became successful, it also brought with it a slew of problems as Android progressed to become the most popular Mobile Operating system on Earth, with 82% Market Share.
OEMs relentlessly customized the Operating System before loading it up on their phones to differentiate from the others, but it bogged down the system and also cause fragmentation, as manufacturers couldn’t update at as fast a pace if it were stock Android.
While the news comes as a blow to the Open-Source Community, it is for the best: Android, which suddenly grew ubiquitous at Google I/O 2014, will not be customizable by OEMs. This means that Android TV, Android Wear and Android Auto will be safe from the skinning of OEMs.
The news was revealed in an interview with Google’s Engineering Director, David Burke by Ars Technica.
Android TV, Wear and Auto don’t need the kind of push that openness served for Android to surge it into popularity. This is because when Android was first unveiled, it was still a new concept and people were adjusting to it. Now that people adjust fast to new technology and that they have already adapted to Wearables (somewhat) and also because Android has become a household name, anything with the name “Android” is bound to sell.
However, Android for Smartphones will remain the same, at least for now. There may be a chance of Google removing code customizability by OEMs for Android.