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10 awesome features custom skins have that stock Android does not (but should!)

Posted: , by Victor H.

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10 awesome features custom skins have that stock Android does not (but should!)
We tend to like stock Android much more than custom skins. It usually works better, it’s more fluid, makes more sense. But while that is the general case, there are plenty of things we like in custom skins as well.

Actually some of them seem like such obvious things that we can only point a finger at Google and wonder why the company has not yet included them to the stock Android. Some of them are no-brainers, others are just brilliant ideas, and yet others would boost productivity a great deal.

What are those features we sorely miss in stock Android? Here are 10 awesome ideas from Samsung’s TouchWiz, HTC Sense, the LG Optimus UI and Sony’s Timescape UI, we wish Google would incorporate in Android faster. Check them out below and don’t hesitate to let us know which are your favorites in the comments!

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posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:12 4

1. Cyan3boN (Posts: 444; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)

oooh that kitty looks cute

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 12:23

31. DigitalMD (Posts: 226; Member since: 17 Feb 2010)

ANdroid needs a more unified kernel and driver set with less vendor and proprietary items needed to build a updated ROM. That's still the biggest downside to Android. It takes 6 to 12 months to get a OS update pushed out to most phones and tablets . Many never see an update at all, so all the new features go to waste

posted on 09 Dec 2012, 12:57

46. aikonix (Posts: 60; Member since: 08 Apr 2012)

Thats not true... Google releases updates like crazy, manufacture gets the update, tweaks and adds stuff, then sends it to the carrier, then the carrier adds bloatware and other features, then the carrier THEN thinks about marketing, where they want the newer phones to get the updates before older phones. If older phones got the updates too, why upgrade the phone then? Only then enthusiasts who want the latest and greatest then will upgrade and others will only ugprade when they find means too... Thats why you dont receive your updates sooner, and if you want your updates sooner? then go to XDA and update it yourself and stop complaining

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:18 2

2. OHaZZaR (Posts: 131; Member since: 19 Aug 2011)

I have battery percentage displayed on my GNote's touchwiz. Honestly, I thought most of these were already available on vanilla android.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 08:42

15. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Same here. I know that landscape mode has been on Symbian for a while, I'm surprised only LG has it for non-tablets. The VideoPic thing would be great on an 808 PureView (if it isn't already) with its lossless zoom. WindowsPhonehas battery percentage, so +1 for that

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 10:24

27. SleepingOz (unregistered)

Vanilla Android is popular 'coz it's simple and good looking but what you get is only the basics.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 12:33

32. Asasindude26 (Posts: 33; Member since: 25 Mar 2012)

Only 8 of these things are plausable...

posted on 21 Nov 2012, 07:17

43. SGSatlantis (Posts: 226; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)

Wait till you learn that you can't create folders in the app drawer, you know because we totally hate options.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:23 2

3. sorcio46 (Posts: 435; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)

Nexus 4 HAS the ability to shoot photos while recording a video.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:58 1

12. s.mrabet (Posts: 124; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Gs3 had that since launch on may.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 09:40 1

19. JonBjSig (Posts: 176; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

The Galaxy Nexus came out in October 2011 when no phone had this feature, the S3 came out in May 2012, the Nexus line is just catching up in this case.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 09:50

23. drodro (Posts: 5; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Galaxy Nexus had that since launch on Oct 2011.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 11:05

29. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

True, but the camera on the GNex is very meh.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:25 4

4. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

Yes TW has the battery percentage too.
What about mini apps from timescape?

Anyway, great article.. proves what I've been saying lately.
OEM android builds are a good thing. They enrich the platform

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:30

8. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)

SMALL APPS! also take picture from lock screen in les than 2 sec

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:26

5. fistigons (Posts: 330; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)

It'd be nice to have all of these features on a stock android device. I have a question though. Is it possible to put touchwiz and all the features of the S3/note 2 on a Nexus device? I like the gesture features on the S3 and the multiwindow mode on the Note 2, but I like the price of the Nexus 4. The same goes for all the listed features are there roms for all of these? Can I have it all?

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:29

6. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)

Sony also has that nfc feature.. also sony has facebook inside it lol!!

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:29

7. dsDoan (Posts: 229; Member since: 28 Dec 2011)

It's silly that 7 and 9 haven't been added to stock, yet.

10 is more of a DLNA feature, which would be nice, as well.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:34

9. flexile (Posts: 78; Member since: 03 Jun 2012)

Honestly, the only features I would care about is lockscreen wallpaper and the ability to take pictures while recording. I don't find myself ever using the rest of the features (especially the bigger icons thing, or the SMS map attachment).

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:35 4

10. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4833; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


If you root you would have those features already EXCEPT MultiWindow mode. I am running Eclipse 2.1 Build 4 which is an Android 4.1.2 AOSP ROM on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I have all those features mentioned PLUS the Android 4.2 keyboard, camera & gallery. Plus with the proper Kernel you can get GREAT battery life also. Better than STOCK Android.

The root community is already WAY ahead of this article. lol

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 07:50 4

11. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 813; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)

Nice to know that. This comment made me wanna learn the art of rooting ( I'm a noob in geeky stuffs though I'm a born gamer ). And since SONY f**ked up JB on their 2011 devices I'll probaly just intall custom ROMs later on.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 09:18 1

16. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4833; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Rooting is really not that hard. If you can read clearly, follow steps & show some sort of common sense you should be able to root your phone just fine.

My only advice is to read the steps needed & then REread the same steps so you are familiar with the WHOLE process before you actually attempt these steps on your phone. There is nothing worse than having something totally unexpected happen because you rushed too quickly.

There are MANY tutorials on how to use ADB to push ROMs , APKs & all sort of other stuff. It may seem like there is a lot to learn but if you take it STEP by STEP it really isn't too complicated.

Remember EVERYONE who roots was a noob at first so PLEASE just take your time learn the terminology look at tutorials, follow steps & you will be underway to TRUE freedom to whatever Android device you choose to root.

+1 for you. Once you root your world will change & you will finally see Android’s TRUE potential.

www.xda-developers.com & www.rootzwiki.com are GREAT places to start your root adventure.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 09:34 2

17. fins71 (Posts: 17; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

Read the root instructions and then zip on over to YouTube and watch videos step by step on how to do it also. It really is as easy as baking a cake. Also if you had a rooted Note 2 like myself you would have everything including multi Window. I rooted it day after I bought it. Awesome device.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 10:14 1

25. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4833; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

lol That is GREAT. I already know how to root the HTC Droid DNA & the phone is STILL not out YET.

Tomorrow when I pick up the HTC Droid DNA, I will unbox it, make sure it's charged 100% & then I will root that BEAST.

In less than 4 hours after the HTC DROID DNA gets released to the masses, I will have a rooted 1080p SLCD 3 display, quad-core Krait S4 Pro with Adreno 320, & 2GB of glorious RAM all wrapped up in a SEXY HTC build quality that has become world renowned.

Man I CAN’T WAIT for the AOSP ROMs to start baking! lol

+1 to you my fellow root user.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 10:11 1

24. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 813; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)

Thank you for the insight. I'll probably learn this one step by step and in a slow manner. I actually had experience flashing firmwares before, and based if guides they're almost kinda thesame if I'm not mistaken. Anyways I plan to root my current phone only after I've replace it with whatever 2013 phone that intrigues me the most.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 10:15 1

26. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4833; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Hey that sounds like a GREAT plan to me. You are definitely on you way. Good for you!


posted on 20 Nov 2012, 11:10 1

30. Deadeye37 (Posts: 162; Member since: 25 Jan 2011)

Just beware that rooting your phone voids the warranty. I waited until my phone was out of warranty before I rooted it.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 14:52 1

37. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 813; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)

I know, thanks. My warranty is already long due. ;-)

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 15:03

38. Jyakotu (Posts: 844; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)

The problem is, you shouldn't always have to ROOT your phone in order to fix a problem. It seems like whenever their is a criticism on Android, most users will always resort to root. While we phone geeks could easily do it, not most normal consumers care to root.

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 09:21

45. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 1116; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)

You have Slo-Mo video recording?

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 08:21

13. bubba78 (Posts: 57; Member since: 23 May 2011)

I can't believe that stock android doesn't have group texting like iPhone, Windows phone, and Blackberry. There are some skins that add it I know my old Razr did it and my Gs3 says it has that option in the settings but it doesn't work right. Such a basic feature left out. There are apps in the market that do it but I always like using the built in texting app.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 08:32

14. dsmboost (Posts: 46; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)

This article is funny. I can't imagine that the average user would even have a stock AOSP rom on their phones. Anyone who does have a phone that comes with stock AOSP, will most likely have a custom rom on their phone that already has most of the above features on their phone. I mean, if you buy a Nexus 4 and you don't frequent the XDA forums, you bought the wrong phone and will most likely be disappointed with it.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 09:36

18. roldefol (Posts: 4242; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)

I'm pleasantly surprised how many simple useability features (landscape mode, gallery zoom) are specific to the Optimus UI. I always thought of Optimus as a cartoony, second-rate TouchWiz, but it sounds like LG is finally running with the big boys.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 09:41

20. alanchai4x4 (Posts: 3; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

Battery percentage already build in ICS 4.0, u can enable it from the setting

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 09:45

21. JonBjSig (Posts: 176; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

5. The Nexus 4 supports taking pictures while shooting video.
10. As of 4.2 you can beam videos.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 09:48

22. drodro (Posts: 5; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Shootnig photos while recording video has been a native feature since 4.0 Ice cream sandwich. It was demo'd in the Galaxy Nexus keynote back in Oct or Nov 2011.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 10:47

28. shuaibhere (Posts: 1986; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)

I would like to have the option to add and delete home screens...like touchwiz UI.....

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 12:35 1

33. blackspot (Posts: 102; Member since: 14 Nov 2012)

I'm using a Galaxy S3/TouchWiz UX "+" Nova Launcher (Stock Android feel). It's a pretty sweet combo, and almost the best of both worlds.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 12:39

34. Miquel_1987 (Posts: 21; Member since: 13 Jun 2012)

Videopic is already on stock android.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 13:33

35. SavageLucy42 (Posts: 211; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)

I change my lock screen all the time...

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 14:35

36. Twisted247 (Posts: 282; Member since: 12 Oct 2012)

All the options are on touchwiz except for 2 : ) the resize icons and landscape app drawer

Gotta love the Galaxy Note 2

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 15:30

39. kanagadeepan (Posts: 922; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)

Zoom in GMail is available in 4.2 Stock and afaik from Android4.1.2 the Landscape UI is found in stock. I am seeing 7x3 GRID icons in app drawer in Landscape UI of my GNexus running 4.1.2...

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 16:22

40. javmex2003 (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


posted on 20 Nov 2012, 19:30

41. epicandroid (banned) (Posts: 40; Member since: 08 Nov 2012)

I agree with all of it! It would make the best experience, but then the features wouldnt be exclusive to the makers, but would be shared to the Android experience :P

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 21:37

42. bonsly16 (Posts: 68; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

Never knew stock android precludes you from changing the lock screen wallpaper. I don't believe it actually. I mean iOS can do it...why not Android?!?!?!

posted on 23 Nov 2012, 18:57

44. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)

Also sony's skin is UXP NXT which stands for user xperience next generation

posted on 07 Apr 2013, 14:30

47. ICronIC (Posts: 2; Member since: 07 Apr 2013)

Wait a minute.

None of these should be part of Android. If they all were, people would be complaining about how huge Android's footprint was, or how clunky it is.

As an O.S. I only expect it be a platform from which everything works (or can work!)

I don't expect Android in itself to do things that Apps and Skins do better.

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