Google locks down Android Wear, Android Auto and Android TV UIs

Google locks down Android Wear, Android Auto and Android TV user interfaces
The Moto 360 experience will be very similar to other Android Wear watches

Google has confirmed that manufacturers will not be able to alter the user interface for devices running its three new Android operating systems.

Following the launch of Android Wear, Android TV and the in-car Android Auto platform at Google I/O there was doubt over whether OEMs would have the freedom to overlay their own custom takes on Android.

Google engineering director David Burke says the firm wants a more consistent feel across these devices, claiming the stock UI is more important to the product than it is to, say, Android for phones or tablets.

He told Ars Technica: "The UI is more part of the product in this case. We want to just have a very consistent user experience, so if you have one TV in one room and another TV in another room and they both say Android TV, we want them to work the same and look the same."

'It should be the same'

Burke added that manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, LG and Motorola will have the freedom to add their own services and apps into the mix, but that's as far as it'll go.

He said: "The device manufacturers can brand it, and they might have services that they want to include with it, but otherwise it should be the same."

The decision explains why the Samsung Gear Live, the LG G Watch and Moto 360 smartwatches all look so similar on the software side of things.

Late last week, Samsung itself said it would be looking to add its multitude of services, some from its Galaxy smartphones and others from its Gear watches into the mix.

Do you think Google has made the right call in keeping the new versions of Android pure? Or is it another sign of Google walling off the open source garden? Let us know your thoughts below.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.