News by Dan Seifert on Wednesday January 04, 2012.
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The Android Developers blog has revealed that Google is now requiring Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich device makers to include the standard, Holo theme with their smartphones and tablets in order to get access to the Android Market. The Holo theme allows app developers to have a unified look and feel to their apps, even if they are used on a variety of devices.
Manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and others have long customized the look and feel of Android to differentiate their products in the market. The consequence to this was that apps used on devices from one manufacturer could look and act very different than when used on a device from another manufacturer. This causes a number of problems for the developers of apps, most notable of which are support and branding issues.
With the new requirements in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, manufacturers will have to include the standard Holo theme with their devices. The device makers can also customize Android with their own skins, but developers can use the native theme for their apps if they wish. If a developer wants their app to blend in better with the custom interface on each particular device, the app can be coded that way as well.
Google stresses that this move was not to limit the customize-ability of Android, and that manufacturers will still be able to alter the look and feel of Android for their own purposes. The standardization is designed specifically to make it easier for app developers to manage their apps across the variety of Android devices on the market. Google also points out that this level of standardization should make it easier for developers to make their apps compatible with new versions of Android as they are released.
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.