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Google May Nuke Custom UIs in Android 3.0

Wednesday unnamed sources said that Google may put an end to custom Android user interfaces with the next major OS release, v3.0 (aka Gingerbread). With a heavy set of core features currently packed into v2.2 (FroYo), it's reported that Google wants to focus on the overall user experience by incorporating a tighter design as seen with Apple's iPhone. So far, Google has virtually left the overall look and feel of Android untouched.

According to sources, Google specifically wants to rid any need for handset manufacturers to add their own custom UI layers on top of Google's OS. Motoblur, Ninjablur, and Sense were just a few that were named. As one report points out, the layers aren't always that great, and tend to slow down the device (pre-Android 2.2 is slow enough as it is).

While it's highly unlikely that Google will ban custom UIs altogether, there was an indication that v3.0 will make them somewhat pointless. In its current state, the stock Android interface is far less user-friendly than its main competitor, the iPhone. Many app developers currently offer custom UIs on the Android Marketplace that try to liven up the Android experience, and even go so far as to offer "skins" the replicate the iPhone's slick interface.

Although the Android team remains "laser focused" on revamping the user experience, Gingerbread is also slated to provide additional tweaks to the present version. But unlike Apple's iPhone, there's no real "lock" on hardware powering Android. Google may find it difficult to provide a universal iPhone-like experience given the various hardware configurations currently available and slated for the future.