In the last 2 years, Android has transformed from a nerdy, hacker phone operating system to an elegant, powerful and user-friendly OS. However, most people aren’t familiar with this type of Android, as the majority of people own devices from major OEMs such as Samsung and HTC that come with their own custom, skinned versions of Android.
Not to bash TouchWiz or Sense – as some people do enjoy it and find use for the insane amount of features packed into it – but these skins detract from the work Google has done to make Android clean, friendly, and enjoyable to use, not to mention elegant.
So this brings me to my next point of discussion; Google Play Edition devices. For years now, tech reviewers and Android lovers have been begging for OEMs to ship their flagship devices with the option to run Stock Android software. This past year at Google I/O, Hugo Barra came on stage and announces the first GPE device, the Samsung Galaxy S4 GPE. Yes. What Android fans had been dreaming of for years and it finally happened. Now in January 2014 there are a total of 5 GPE devices being sold through the Google Play Store. Disappointingly though, these fantastic devices are crippled by their US only availability and high price tags (with the exception of the Moto G GPE).
This brings me to my last point, if every OEM would follow Motorola’s footsteps, or if Google would put some real marketing behind their Nexus devices, or make GPE devices available in more countries, Stock Android would get in the hands of more consumers and get the recognition it deserves. Consumers need to be know about Stock Android to want to use it, or to at least be intrigued enough to inquire about it. From my experience, I haven’t met one person who uses a skinned device who doesn’t prefer the software on my phone compared to theirs. Stock Android truly is the best Android, and it’s time for more people to know.