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Google wants to eliminate skinned Android with Gingerbread

Techcrunch reports that sources close to Google are looking to offer a complete revamp of the Android OS user experience when the new version, codenamed Gingerbread, becomes available.

The endgame for Gingerbread, Google says, is to make the user experience so fluid and compelling that device manufacturers don’t see the need to add their own skins on top of Android, like the HTC Sense and Motorola Motoblur. Word has it, Google wants Android to feel close to how the iPhone is now and make skinned Android interfaces obsolete.

Techcrunch says that skinned Androids “aren’t all that great” and “tend to slow down devices”. We have to disagree on this. We’ve been using the HTC Legend side-by-side with a Nexus One running Froyo and we dare say that the HTC Sense on the Legend offers a more integrated user experience compared to running native Android alone.

Getting manufacturers to shed their skins and run on natve Android is going to be difficult though as device manufacturers rely on skinned UI to differentiate thier products from the rest.

On the other hand, Google will need to lock down Android to ensure that the mobile OS can compete with the likes of Apple’s iOS4. But this is going to be difficult considering the fact that Android is an open operating system that is designed to handle a variety of hardware options.

When there’s a variety in hardware, it’s going to be very hard to make the user experience perfect. Which is why Apple’s Macs, with locked down hardware, have always been a better experience than the hugely hardware-flexible Windows operating system.

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