Google has now made it mandatory for all devices operating on the latest Android Operating System (Ice Cream Sandwich) to have the Holo theme by default. Google does this step to standardize the Android platform and reduce the Android fragmentation. In an post from Adam Powell at the Android developers blog said:
“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. Apps that wish to use the device’s default styling can do so using the DeviceDefault themes that are now in the public API. These changes let you spend more time on your design and less time worrying about what will be different from one device to another. Finally, Android’s resource system allows you to support features from the latest platform version while offering graceful fallback on older devices.”
This means Google is trying to minimize the Android fragmentation by allowing developers to have something that they can test their apps and to know that it will have the same result over all devices with the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and further. A common theme on all the devices would allow the developers to build apps taking into note that it will be available on every device.
This however doesn’t mean that Manufactures and developers can’t develop a customized theme of their own. For this Google has and API implemented where developers can easily build their own themed experience for their users. Here’s what Google has to say about custom themes.
“We have no desire to restrict manufacturers from building their own themed experience across their devices. In fact we’ve gone further to make this even 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 customizations intact.”
I personally love the Android Holo theme and think this move by Google will come much appreciated by the developers around the world who have been dealing with Android Fragmentation for so long.