Why is stock Android so popular?

android public domain



Why is stock Android so popular?

There have been various attempts to “skin” Android (such as Touchwiz by Samsung) but many people still prefer Google’s stock version of Android. Why is stock Android so popular with so many users around the world? A redditor asked that very question and got some interesting answers.

[ Android is now ready for real usage in the enterprise. Read InfoWorld’s in-depth guide on how to make Android a serious part of your business. | Get the best office apps for your Android device. ]

Anarchaotic started the thread with this post:

Why does everyone love stock Android so much?

Maybe I’m just not as picky, but I’ve used LGs skin, Touchwiz, MIUI, HTCs skin, and of course the vanilla Nexus builds.

I’m honestly confused why people make such a big deal about this, and I’m hoping you folks can fill me in.

Other than Touchwiz and MIUI, I didn’t find such a massive difference where I remotely cared about the changes. Nova changes the home screen, and the notification bar seems awfully similar to me in most builds.

More at Reddit

His fellow Android redditors replied with their thoughts:

Spdyrel: “I think it’s because of bloat, software speed, and update speed. I personally enjoy different phones having little bits of unique features in their launchers/software but sometimes there are just too many “features” that end up taking up space, slowing down the phone, and/or use up battery. Funny though because a lot of these extras end up in “stock” android.”

Birnikionni: “I hate the no bloat argument. You can say no bloat if you really dont have any like in Cyanogenmod wherr you actively decide how many Gapps you install. But my nexus came with a ton of apps I’m not using. One example is google photos. I don’t know of any other oem that has the guts to force a photo app on someone and not providing a gallery app. Or Hangouts in kitkat – I don’t want to use that crap, give me my sms back, thanks. Or Google plus, why can’t I uninstall it? “

Punkidow: “When people say ‘bloat’ they don’t really mean some extra apps. The preinstalled apps you’re talking about, they mostly just sit there and don’t harm you if you don’t open them.

By bloat I think people usually mean the tons tons of extra background services. I can’t seem to find it, but there was a table made by some site comparing the number of running processes on different skins of Android. It was crazy how many processes were running on the Samsung phone.”

Armando_rod: “It’s simple and so lightweight that runs great on a 3 year old phone, remember that the Galaxy S3 international didn’t received an update because it had 1gb of RAM and couldn’t handle TouchWiz (Samsung own words) “

Buildmethat: “Stock Android just keeps life simple for me:

I don’t have to worry about surprises when I change phones

Better support online for how tos

Easy to provide remote support to friends and family

Easier to get updates as it means less work for the OEM

I like the look and feel of stock Somehow I always felt stock to be faster than skinned version. May be because it won’t need much of the resources.”

Phprosperous: “Because I care about performance than excessive cosmetics.”

Nikait: “I have yet to see a OEM theme that looks better than stock. I tried the S7 once and the software looked awful imho, like a cheap fun fair phone, it was slower than my old OPO too. Which is a shame because they make great hardware.”

Holides_Ogzalis: “Mainly because it’s consistent in look and feel regardless of what device you use. I don’t want to have to re learn stuff when a particular OEM decided to gratuitously rearrange things. Also most skins just don’t look that good to me… Adding more colors and design elements just adds visual noise.”

TechnicallyErreDe: “Don’t forget that Nexus phones get the greatest and newest the quickest in part because of being stock. Having a skin on top of Android makes it harder to push updates in a quicker manner, because the skin have to be updated as well. And that takes time.”

Biersackarmy: “Along with the reasons others have mentioned, many people are simply scarred by skins of the past. Nowadays LG UI, HTC Sense, TouchWiz, etc. perform perfectly fine and often aren’t that big of a difference compared to stock Android, but a few years ago the difference was HUGE. You could go from Touchwiz JB on an S3 to stock Android, underclock the CPU to 700MHz, and it’d still be a night and day difference in smoothness.”

Pixelated666: “Because the performance on stock Android is unrivaled and I don’t care what anyone’s untrained eyes say. TouchWiz is a janky, laggy mess compared to stock Android. Similarly Sony, Huawei, LG, none of their interfaces can match stock Android in terms of performance.

Also, stock Android is far better looking in terms of aesthetics.”

More at Reddit

DistroWatch reviews SalentOS 1.0

What do you get when you combine Debian and the light-weight Openbox window manager? SalentOS. DistroWatch has a full review of SalentOS 1.0, and found that it had some rough edges that need to be fixed.

Jesse Smith reports for DistroWatch:

What I liked about SalentOS was what I tend to like about most Debian-based projects. The distribution is stable and light, offering fast performance on a solid base. While not many repositories are enabled by default, perhaps to make SalentOS a more liberally licensed project, we can enable additional Debian repositories to gain access to a huge collection of software.

For the most part, I liked the applications SalentOS provided, though I did miss having a dedicated music player. Otherwise I liked the default applications and it was straight forward enough to add more with the Synaptic package manager.

SalentOS did not sit right with me in a few ways. One was the way the welcome window kept reappearing whenever I logged in and Openbox forgot some of my settings each time I logged out. I also didn’t like that some of the control panel modules failed to launch. I usually like to have my desktop panel over on the left side of the screen and SalentOS’s panel does not handle this positioning gracefully.

In the end, I found what I liked most about SalentOS was its Debian base, but the extras which were added on (the Openbox-powered desktop, the wallpaper changer and the settings panel) mostly rubbed me the wrong way. I did very much enjoy SalentOS Styler and its many tools for tweaking the look of the desktop. SalentOS provides good performance and a relatively small memory footprint, but it also has several rough edges which need to be addressed before I can recommend the distribution.

More at DistroWatch

Linux 4.9 released

Linus Torvalds has been busy working on the latest version of the Linux kernel, and now Linux 4.9 has been officially released.

Simon Sharwood reports for The Register:

Linux overlord Linus Torvalds has released Linux 4.9.

“I’m pretty sure this is the biggest release we’ve ever had, at least in number of commits,” Torvalds writes on the Linux Kernel Mailing List.

“If you look at the number of lines changed, we’ve had bigger releases in the past, but they have tended to be due to specific issues (v4.2 got a lot of lines from the AMD GPU register definition files, for example, and we’ve had big re-organizations that caused a lot of lines in the past: v3.2 was big due to staging, v3.7 had the automated uapi header file disintegration, etc).”

“In contrast, 4.9 is just big.”

More at The Register

Did you miss a roundup? Check the Eye On Open home page to get caught up with the latest news about open source and Linux.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?