Google ‘Holo’ theme mandatory for Android 4.0 ICS, Xperia to keep UXP skin though

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

ICS ScreenshotThere was an interesting post over on the Android Developers Blog last night, where Google confirmed that any device that is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, with the Android Market installed, will have to have the Holo theme installed. However, before Xperia owners jump for joy thinking they can run stock ICS, we should point out this doesn’t affect the manufacturer’s use of skins like Sony Ericsson’s UXP framework, HTC Sense or Samsung Touchwiz.
This Holo theme consists of UI widgets and other design elements targeted to app developers. Basically, app developers can call on the default Holo theme if the DeviceDefault theme (in this case SE’s UXP) is not present. The main reason for this mandatory inclusion is to maintain consistency between the user interface and apps. By separating the themes, the other theoretical benefit is that manufacturers such as Sony Ericsson should be able to push quicker updates to new platform versions.
We’d love to see Google extend this to cover the stock home launcher but unfortunately we can’t see this happening any time soon, mainly due to the ‘open’ nature of Android. Our best bet is for Sony Ericsson to provide the stock theme as an alternative to UXP, although that’s just as unlikely. Thank goodness for CyanogenMod!


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