Stock Android is the Best Android and it Should Be Everyone’s Android

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).

I converted to Android from iOS about 2 years ago and haven’t looked back since. Along the way I’ve been preaching the wonders of Android and it’s advantages over iOS in the hopes some of my friends would make the switch. I can say now that a large group of my friends have switched, however they are constantly coming to me for help with their devices, and their issues are always software related. Their issues stem from the convoluted skins imposed on their devices by their respective manufacturers. When friends with a Galaxy S4 of HTC One complain to me about certain quirks within their software I simply tell them to install a 3rd party launcher such as Nova Launcher or Action Launcher and that it should alleviate their issues for the most part. But why should consumers have to resort to modifying their software to get it to work well? And that’s where Stock Android comes in. Since I use a Nexus device (Nexus 5 to be exact), whenever one of these friends comes to me with certain issues I rectify them on their devices first, then I simply show them my phone and they are amazed at how simple and clean the software is. It’s extremely user-friendly, it is blazing fast with no slowdowns, and it just works. The “it just works” statement has been something said about iOS for quite some time now, however I feel like Stock Android is at that point now (and in many ways ahead of iOS in terms of user-friendliness). Seeing the look on peoples’ faces when they see how great the software is on my phone compared to theirs just grinds my gears as to why OEMs still feel the need to make changes to the OS for the sake of making changes. Now, not all OEMs are guilty of this. The newly Google owned Motorola has put out phones with some of the best software ever loaded on mobile devices, and this software is what I believe to be the pinnacle of Android development and what EVERY OEM should be doing going forward. The best Android software possible in my opinion would be Stock Android with OEM customized applications (camera, messaging etc.), and OEM settings added to the stock settings application. This is exactly what Motorola has done with the Moto X and Moto G (and to some extent the 2013 Verizon Droids). They didn’t make change for change’s sake, they simply added real value to already great software, which provides for arguably the best user experience on any phone. One other major benefit to the way Motorola builds their software is the speed at which they can release OS updates to their phones. Due to the fact they simply add a few applications and value-adds, they’re practically updating Stock Android, and this resulted in them releasing Android 4.4 to the Moto X even before select Nexus devices.

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.


1 Comment

Filed under Android

One response to “Stock Android is the Best Android and it Should Be Everyone’s Android

  1. Ahsan Hussain

    Good read. Actually been thinking of switching from the HTC One S to the Moto X, this just made me want to do it more

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