Regardless of what you think of manufacturer OS skins, it's obvious that they have certainly helped to enhance some user experiences. One manufacturer well known for its skins is HTC, the company responsible for skinning Windows Mobile and, more recently, Android. Many people have fallen in love with HTC's Sense UI skin on top of Android, but with Google rumored to be focusing on the user interface in Android 3.0, some believe the big G will make skins like Sense obsolete. HTC design lead Drew Bamford doesn't think that skins will be going anywhere any time soon, however. Bamford had this to say in an interview with Forbes:
“Google may focus more on improving the user interface on the stock Android [software], but I don’t think they’ll preclude manufacturer customization.”
Bamford went on to explain that HTC plans to improve the features found in its Sense UI in the coming months. The new enhancements will include more social networks being added to FriendStream, cloud services for streaming media, and additions to current features of the skin. We can expect to see the new version of HTC Sense in the next six to nine months.
With the impending release of Windows Phone 7 and the fact that Microsoft will not be allowing manufacturers to skin the OS, Android is going to be the last haven for OS skins. While skins like Sense were extremely helpful in the early days of Android, the OS is becoming much more mature lately, especially with Froyo, and skins are slowly becoming obsolete. Some users actually complain that manufacturer skins can make the Android experience worse, conflicting with the built-in Android apps and making actions more complicated than necessary. Whatever we think, however, it seems like Android skins are here to stay. What are your thoughts on manufacturer skins like Sense?