It should be necessary to have a unified theme and essentially stop the fragmentation the OS currently suffers from. This is a great thing and I'm glad to see Google trying to maintain some consistency.
Great move on Google's part. I for one am glad. Even if my carrier doesn't officially update to ICS, I couldn't care less as my phone is already rooted and running ICS already. Interesting to see how the carriers react to this.
I like the halo. But its a bad move for being open
Can you elaborate on this more? They're not preventing you from building your own theme they're just saying you have to include the default.
I think if its open then you should be able to do what you want no strings attached. When start adding things that must be included you are starting to loose what we all love about being open. I love the halo but to say you must include is a step in the wrong direction.
Google is still allowing the platform to be open though. A more closed way of handling this would have been to openly demand that all manufactures stop using skins and requiring them to run stock.
I think it is a good move in general, but I am glad they aren't forbidding custom themes. I am not a big fan of the iconography in Honeycomb / Ice Cream Sandwich, so I may use whatever custom theme Motorola puts on my Photon after the update that keeps the look and feel the same as in the Gingerbread version. I know I hear a lot of complaints about other Motorola phones and their customizations, but they did a great job with the Photon's UI and all the changes they made are actually for the better in this case.
I agree 100%. Sometimes they're annoying but there are some things each of them do that is really nice.
I applaud the move, and hope that they keep the momentum going. I hope that in the future they require any skinning to be optional, giving the user control over whether they want a skinned experience or a stock one.
Hopefully Google will keep asserting this kind of pressure, and hardware manufacturers will do away with skins. That should speed up the OS update process across devices.
Honestly the OEM skins don't annoy me because they need to do something to make their phones differentiate from each other. While some of them have ruined some aspects with the skin they've also done some good things such as HTC has done with the camera.