January 4, 2012 | by Adrian Diaconescu
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has brought a bunch of improvements, updates, and ‘’facelifts’’ to the table. And while some of them might not be appreciated by everyone, one important change should be praised by all us technology geeks.
According to a post published on the official Android developers’ blog, the ICS’s native theme, Holo, will become mandatory for any gadget running Android 4.0 and offering Android Market access. That includes smartphones and tablets and is supposed to be a step toward consistency in how developers can create apps that will run and display on all devices.
However, the mandatory use of the Holo theme will not put an end to manufacturer customizations. Google is preparing to issue architectural mandates that should make it simple for independent developers to create apps that fit nicely into the customized environments. In other words, you will still be able to get a different experience from original UIs like the Sense or TouchWiz, but the Holo theme will be present to offer more consistency and less requirements for manufacturers to customize new version of Android.
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.
Formally separating these theme families will also make future merges easier for manufacturers updating to a new platform version, helping more devices update more quickly. – Adam Powell, Google
The Holo theme has been almost unanimously praised by technology enthusiasts and experts, being extremely easy to master, but also stylish, intuitive and functional, so there’s no wonder that the guys at Google are trying their best to maximize the use of what could make users forget all about the software glitches seen in the past.
If you hit the source link at the end of this article, you will also find details on how to make apps designed for Android 4.0 work with devices running older versions of the OS (namely 2.3 Gingerbread, 2.2 Froyo and 2.1 Eclair).