Google, please use an iron fist on Android
As the title suggests Google needs to use an iron fist when it comes to OEM's and skins. The prime example for me is Motorola, Motorola had one the most infamous skins on Android, and not for a good reason, BLUR was hated by nearly everyone who had come into contact with it, and also those who hadnt.
Above is a very crudely photoshopped photo of a Motorola Atrix one Atrix is running one of the many revisions of Blur, the other one simply has a screenshot of gingerbread where the original homescreen was, as you can see, Blur is ugly, it was a lot uglier and even now its better but still pretty ugly,below is a timeline of blur (i promise you this article is not just about blur)
so you can see it has gradually gotten better but it is still freakin' ugly, and the funny thing was ,BLUR was supposed to bring together all of your social networks and make your life easier, everything was blurred into one stream (hence the name) but it didnt, it was so clumsy and laggy it was unreal, anyway on to the next contender: Sense by HTC
Sense is by far the most popular skin for the Android platform, it is easily the most polished, and nicest to look at skin for Android, it customises so much of the experience that you wouldn't know you were using android if you weren't told, i met a person that thought his phone ran Sense, yes his HTC Legend ran sense, not Android,Sense the poor bloke didn't know that HTC built Sense atop of Android to pretty it up a bit and was flabbergasted when i showed him what stock android looks like on his phone, and that was the toned down version of Sense version 2.0, if he had a sensation i'd feel sorry for him,there is basically no remnants of stock android left in sense 3.x .but as well as being the prettiest, Sense is also the biggest ,and possibly the laggiest every now and then, if you think about it, sense has all those weather animations, and in 3.x it has the page turn animations on the carousel also that new lock screen ring has a few animations of its own, poor CPU, is Sense being horrible to you. Sense runsbetter on newer HTC phones such as the sensation,evo 3D, Vivid etc because they all have dual-core 1.2 or 1.5GHz processors, 768mb or 1GB of RAM for multitasking, basically newer HTC phones have the hardware that Sense needs to run smoothly, the original Hero on the otherhand ...didn't.
the third contender ( drum roll) Touchwiz for Android
Touchwiz for android is personally my favourite skin for android,more specifically Touchwiz 4.0 found on the Samsung Galaxy S II series of devices. Touchwiz isn't as in your face as Sense, and definitely less laggy than BLUR, to me it is the nice bit in between space, yes it has been criticised time after time for being very iOS -esque , even being sued by Apple a few times,but i digress ,Touchwiz is my favourite skin Version 3was very cartoon-ish and ,not poorly coded but there was a few lines of rogue code that bogged down the system every now and then, the widgets are lovely (and in ver.4 resizeable) i love the bright colours of Touchwiz which really take advantage of the Super AMOLED or Super AMOLED Plus displays on the Galaxy S and S II series of devices.
And last but by no means least is LG's Custom skin atop Android, it doesn't really have a name, so i'm going to call LG's skin Bob.
Bob is a bit of a weird UI, it seems to be an amalgamation of T-wiz and a teeny bit of Sense, it just looks janky, it's just bad, it's laggy, the widgets suck, the icons look terrible and the helicopter pinch-to-zoom out view of all your screens is jittery, even on the Optimus 2X, the worlds first Tegra 2 phone, the Worlds first Dual-core phone, to put it frankly, i would keep away from Bob at all costs, think of Bob like the guy in class with the really bad Hygiene ,yeah you don't want to sit ext to him, and you wont wan't to use Bob.
Before i went off on the tangent of complaining/praising the most common skins for Android i was talking about why Google needs to implement an Iron Fist type procedure for the skinning of Android and here is why :
UPDATES !, the reason the nexus phones are popular is because they are they stock phones ,the phones without any skin, or bloatware on, so they don't need to wait to find out if sense 5million will work on android 45, Google started to do what i'm proposing with Honeycomb, OEM's were allowed to do very little with skinning Honeycomb, if you buy a Galaxy Tab 10.1 an Asus eee Pad transformer and a Motorola XOOM they all run Honeycomb, the XOOM was the posterboy for Honeycomb so it was stock, like the Nexus phones are, if you look at a Galaxy Tab 10.1 even though Samsung have put a type of T-Wiz on there , it is still easily noticeable as Honeycomb with a few different icon, a few more widgets etc. and its the same with the Transformer you pick one up and it is still inherently Honeycomb with a few different icons,a few more widgets and some fancy live wallpapers.
My point before i went off on yet another tangent is that google needs to go all in with skins and themes and let OEM's whatever the hell they like (like they are now) or say "no, no HTC you can't put sense on this phone,because (...)" and also, the reason OEM's made skins in the first place is because , at the beginning Android was ugly, and up until 2.1 it was still ugly, but with the intro of Ice Cream Sandwich, Android is now pretty , the new Roboto Font, the new colour scheme of Cyan and blacks, awesome, the swiping gesture being implemented everywhere it can and with some pretty icons that i have using on my phone since the SDK was available.
So Google, from a humble boy from north London, please do something about your OEMs they are getting a bit out of hand now.