Android is an open source software, by the virtue of which everyone could spin off a version of their own without raising any copyright concerns. Since Google has absolutely no intention to curb the ethos of open source software, one of the casualties have been too much of fragmentation and difference in the design of the interfaces and applications.
During the launch of the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), Google had promised to sort out the problem and unify the experience on Android. Going forward on that direction, the company has recently introduced an
to help the developers with advice on recommended iconography, patters, colors, typography, and writing styles. The site offers a comprehensive visual to third-party application developers, giving suggestions on everything from how to implement different visual elements to overall back-end patterns for the OS itself. Moreover, since ICS is supposed to be the same OS for both mobile phones and tablets, it was imperative of them to release a style guide of this nature.
No, it is not compulsory for the designers to follow the style guides while developing an application, but Matias Duarte, Google’s Director of Android user experience, feels that most developers shall surely abide by it once they find that apps built outside the style guide shall stand out.