While HTC, Samsung, LG, and Motorola dominate the Android field, there are a few smaller players vying for attention. One of them is Huawei. The Chinese company has placed Android smartphones with many prepaid carriers in the U.S. in hopes of expanding its reach. The next step, apparently, is to create its own Android skin, dubbed the Emotion UI. While we don’t know exactly how this skin will appear and function, it re-raises the issue of skinning Android. It’s quite a polarizing one in the Android community. On the whole, custom UIs present many advantages for manufacturers. They can brand their Android handsets, separating them from the growing pack. Think of it this way: how many Android handsets do we see released every month? If you combine major carriers with prepaid ones it has to be near a dozen some months. Add in worldwide markets and it’s even larger. These are all handsets running the same OS. Put that way, it’s no wonder why HTC wants to create an experience that Samsung users won’t get. The divide, of course, comes from consumers. It’s tough to tell what an individual consumer will want. Some will want the plain Android experience, because it’s compelling in itself. Yet others want something something different. That is, not everyone wants to merely choose between Android and iPhone. There seems to be room in the market for competition, and one way companies can create that alternative, without spending inordinate amounts on developing a whole new OS, is to place a custom UI on Android. The clear solution is an opt-out for any custom UI. Manufacturers can benefit, because people who avoided them due to the UI will be more likely to buy. Those who want the differentiated experience can continue using the skin. Hopefully Huawei realizes this and gives users the option of using Emotion, rather than requiring it. Via The Verge.