One of the things I try to talk about here is on how folks use Android and what changes and developments in the Android realm that impact users. Well, skins developed by various Android developers are having a positive effect on Android adoption.
These skins like Blur and Sense are aggregating pertinent updates for users and provide an UI that Google did not include with Android. And in the next update cycle or two, these skins will become more intricate. However, there could potentially be a risk for Android as a whole.
The skins allow Samsung, HTC, and Motorola to differentiate themselves from other Android developers and each other. After all, Android is just competing with the iPhone, Blackberry, and Nokia but also with each other. These companies that make Android devices (soon, tablets as well) will need to stand out. After all, Android hardware developers are also compete with each other as well.
However, the fear is that even as Android market suffers from partial fragmentation, skin developments may further create rifts in the platform. And I fear this may potentially become an issue for app developers as hardware makers modify their flavor of Android further based on the skin they created.
We'll know if this is truly going to be a problem. Right now most skins are mostly widgets to update Twitter, text, and Facebook feeds. But look for the skins to improve and become more sophisticated. Perhaps, it would be good for Google and its Android partners to come to some sort of agreement on skin development as well.