It looks as though Google is getting sick and tired of OEMs covering up its hard work with their own UI embellishments and customizations. On the smartphone and tablet fronts, users have grown accustomed to (for better or worse) graphical overlays like TouchWiz and Sense UI on Samsung and HTC devices respectively.
But when it comes to devices that will run Android Wear, Android TV, and Android Auto, OEMs won’t be given the freedom to make sweeping changes to the overall look and feel of the UI. In an interview with Ars Technica, Google engineering director David Burke explained this move, stating, “We want to just have a very consistent user experience, so if you have one TV in one room and another TV in another room and they both say Android TV, we want them to work the same and look the same.”
Burke added, "The UI is more part of the product in this case.”
OEMs will still have some control, however. Burke explains that OEMs will still be able to provide branded services/apps as they have in the past, but Google overall wants a more unified user experience across all devices in the future.
This move should also cut down on the dreaded “fragmentation” word that often gets thrown around when it comes to Android. Burke says that by preventing OEMs from making drastic changes to the UI, Google will hold all the cards when it comes to pushing out major software updates. In this instance, the updates would be "more like Chrome on the desktop” according to Burke.
For now, this directive is aimed at Android Wear, Auto, and TV. It is unknown if this will extend to Google’s widely popular Android smartphone and tablet platforms.