Android has been popularly known as the most widely used platform for smartphones, tablets, and watches even. And reportedly, there are now 500,000 activations of Android devices per day, so it’s clear that Google’s operating system has hit the big time in probably for the longest time. It’s timely maintained by Google and basically comes in different versions, and varies from version to version. It’s seemingly perfect and flawless, but at times it proves that it got its imperfections as well.
Too often do we see clamoring that the best solution to any manufacturers’ approach to their phone’s software is untouched, stock Android, since Android is an open source, those means that manufacturers don’t have to pay Google to use it, and that they’re definitely free to modify and customize it. This also means that it’s used in a wide range of hardware varying in price from small budget phones to large-screen high-end handsets that’s what comes out in the market. And while there are those benefits of the pure untouched Android, and there are also those alluring advantages of the overlaid signature of the brand manufacturers which offer quite enticing features which includes the different UI’s on top of it.
If you come to think about each different UI and study them closely, you can’t even tell that there isn’t something right it’s doing just like some sweet feature that another software package doesn’t offer, even stock Android. Let’s look closer:
Samsung use TouchWiz overlaid on top of the stock Android, and is shunned a lot of the time, and for good reason. Some like it, some other don’t. How about its camera software? Take the Nexus 6 as an example, and the camera on it was set on simple mode. There wasn’t much it could do outside of point and shooting and the like. The only modes available and commonly used are panorama, photo sphere, lens blur, and HDR.
Take it to the Galaxy camera app, what you have is a Pro mode, where you can change White Balance, ISO, etc. Also HDR that can be handled automatically, so no more user switching and that lag associated with it. There’s also slow and fast motion capture featuring, and a selective focusing after the fact, and many more post-processing effects. Also, has a selfie mode that has a beautification ability to remove face blemishes and other photo editing capabilities.
One more thing, the one TW feature is the split screen view. Which the Nexus 6, with its ginormous screen, did not have this ability. Other features include a multitude of gestures/motions as shortcuts to common actions, such as when you bring the phone to your ear, it automatically make a call or the screen remains on until you look away from it.
The LG’s UX 4.0 UI isn’t renowned, but it does brag and bring some unique features to the playing field which includes the navigation button customization. In UX 4.0 UI there’s room for additions, you can add in another button, with a multitude of functions to choose from to assign to it. You can also rearrange the button layout as per like or preference. For instance, If you’re right-handed and you like the back button to be on the right side, you can move it to your convenience.
LG has up’d their camera game as well and its camera software has capabilities reaching for DSLR-level of options, quite impressive. Also we can’t forget about that Double-Tap-to-Wake feature, debuted back on the LG G2 which adds more convenience and it’s definitely frustration that the current Nexus phone still doesn’t have.
In contrary, HTC’s Sense is one of the most accepted UI’s by the users in general point of view.. Since the release of the One M7, its UI has been well-optimized, quick, responsive, and for the most part, not annoying to look at.
What’s a great thing HTC introduced with Sense 7 is that it’s a very capable theming engine, something Lollipop is lacking. Basically it can take just any color palate, whether user-specified or from an image, and match the UI’s appearance to it.
These are just a few common brands that applied overlaid UI to the stock Android as a zeal of their names.
Now, before anything else, before comments like “You can have all the sweets if you root.” blow up this article. That’s not the point here. This is not about rooting your Android, or those people who are open to putting extra effort and risk to unlocking their phone. Android rooting can be and cannot be the answer, and definitely not the specific topic being tackled. It’s about the Android community as a whole, and the majority of people aren’t comfortable with stepping out of bounds just to explore what rooted Android could offer something new. Android itself is quite great already but here’s a thought to add to the mix: Why does Google leave out features that stock Android should obviously have but didn’t even tried to complete or fulfilled Android? What if Google deliberately holds back, to leave room for improvement for their customers to fill or just simply part of the business?