Google has taken the surprising move of requiring all future Android devices, including those on Android 4.0, to feature its default theme, known as Holo.
Essentially, the company is trying to standardise design features across the OS - so the inclusion of Holo is meant to make life easier for app developers to keep their apps looking consistent.
"We've made the inclusion of the unmodified Holo theme family a compatibility requirement for devices running Android 4.0 and forward," explained Adam Powell, an Android Framework engineer.
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"If the device has Android Market, it will have the Holo themes as they were originally designed."
What that means is that if you don't have Holo, you ain't getting in to the Android Market, which seems a little on the militant side.
But what about our custom skins? we hear device manufacturers cry. Never fear:
"We have no desire to restrict manufacturers from building their own themed experiences," adds Powell as HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz developers breathe a sigh of relief.
Skins are safe
Google reckons its actually made the skin designing process easier by making widget and theme family style separate from the nitty gritty of the OS.
Another benefit will be that updates to apps and software skins are easier to roll out thanks to the defragmentation of the system.
To sum up, Powell adds, "Android apps running on 4.0 and forward can use the Holo themes and be assured that their look and feel will not change when running on a device with a custom skin.
"Android's resource system allows you to support features from the latest platform version while offering graceful fallback on older devices."
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