Google takes steps to avoid Android fragmentation

The search engine Google has decided that it will put a stop to the fragmentation of its Android operating system by insisting that certain components be included by manufacturers.

Manufacturers will have to agree to support Android’s “Holo” theme and have the Android Market installed.

Writing from his bog, Google’s Tim Bray insisted that this will not mean the end of phone makers’ user interface customisations, it will just mean that the style has to be included during any launch.

Bray is hoping that developers will make their apps look more like Android instead of some custom user interface.

Google had no desire to restrict manufacturers from building their own themed experience across their devices and seems to have made this easier.

“In Android 4.0’s API (level 14) we’ve added a new public theme family to complement the Holo family introduced in Android 3.0: DeviceDefault. DeviceDefault themes are aliases for the device’s native look and feel. The DeviceDefault theme family and widget style family offer ways for developers to target the device’s native theme with all customisations intact,” Bray said.

He said that the move will let developers spend more time on their designs and less time worrying about what will be different from one device to another.

The move is seen as Google taking steps to fight fragmentation. It can tell device makers that they have to include Holo and so developers know that there is a common interface they can build their apps upon.

While it is not going to end the fragmentation of Android, it can be seen as a step in the right direction.