Would you prefer it if your device had stock Android instead of a manufacturer skin? (poll results)

While proprietary Android skins do allow handset makers to compete on software as well as hardware, it is also true that there are some significant downsides to the entire process. Whether we're talking about the risks involved in terms of stability, general performance, or just the simple fact that the more comprehensive the skin is, the more manufacturers need time to keep up with the development of stock (or Google's) Android, it's true that there's a trade involved.

Still, it's a question of taste and preferences above all, as custom overlays can be quite effective in complementing the hardware packed within a device. In the case of Samsung, for example, users get numerous new features, including the ability to run several apps side-by-side simultaneously, the ability to hide sensitive content, control over the calibration of the display, and many, many others. In comparison, stock Android — the OS as Google intended it — is bare bones. So which one do people prefer?

According to a poll we published yesterday, the vast majority would like it better if their device ran virgin Android — 76.39% of the nearly 1,800 people that voted say so. The remainder (23.61%) say they like things the way they are. We'll be frank and admit that even we are kind of surprised by stock Android's landslide win. Are you?

Would you prefer it if your device had stock Android instead of a manufacturer skin?




1. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

I dont know why ppl chose stock. Look at the camera app, it's so horrible. No theme control, boring features. If you want stock, just use Nova Launxher

4. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Stock Android = Simple

8. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Its not simple, its dumb ! 1. Stock android is deprived of too many basic features which other launcher offers 2. Like hung2900 said, awful camera app 3. That annoying persistent Google Search bar ! 4. Silencing your phone ( I know its fixed in M but it isn't out yet and it will be a while until M reaches a decent market share) Samsung's theme offering on its store in the best IMO. With that you get the looks of android and features of Samsung !

12. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

I don't think you (or many here) understand the concept of stock. It is the base version of Android that is usually the best optimized out of all the current Android skins. Having that as the primary theme makes a very consistent appearance and experience for every Android device. THEN, on top of that there should be a themeing engine like in the Galaxy S6/Cyanogen Roms that allow you to put a custom skin on top of that. Samsung has currently done it backwards but maybe they'll realize this and fix it in the next iteration. Having stock to start and applying touchwiz on top based on the USER PREFERENCE would be the ideal way to do it. The camera app should be separate though, not a system main. All samsung and all have to do is put the relevant camera app on the play store or their own store or preload it NOT as a system app and they could literally update it 10 times without having to touch the OS. With it being a system app, you have 10 or 20 different problems when updating it and therefore, delays in refinement. Since Camera 2.0 api allows taking RAW photos, you can apply all your features without system level permissions. The more apps you decouple from the system, the faster updates can be made, the more modular everything is.

14. dmakun

Posts: 382; Member since: Jun 06, 2011

If I am to choose between stock and OEM skinned Android I'd pick skinned Android any day. However I see your point and agree that this could be the best direction for Google and its partners. I'm just not sure if the likes of Samsung would feel any obligation to do this since they are doing just fine skinning Android and making billions without the need for this. I think the likes of HTC should try this and test the success of their forthcoming Hero device. It just might work.

17. osbert

Posts: 125; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

THIS! People that talk like stock Android is a bad thing...

27. Fellwalker

Posts: 538; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

Well said. Even Google has moved quite a few items out of Android and made them into apps.

21. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

If Android fans want stock Android they might as well just get a Windows device. What happened to loving the skins/ flexibility of Android?.

25. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

How come you didnt say they might as well get an iPhone or BB while you were at it? Oh, I know why...

26. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

And you kind of answered your own question about flexibilty... A phone with stock Android is more flexible.

22. waddup121 unregistered

Material all day.

28. Damian_44

Posts: 6; Member since: Aug 01, 2014

Agreed. Stock Android is unpolished in comparison to iOS. Conversely, the OEM skins offer some nice bells and whistles(e.g. a better camera app, calendar, multi-window support, counters for missed calls, SMS and emails, clickable hyperlinks in email messages etc etc) . If you don't like stock Android you can always switch to Nova or the Google Now Launcher. But, if all you have is stock Android(you have to install a million apps to get the bells and whistles a decent skin usually offers). The Touchwiz skin on the Galaxy S6 and the Sense skin for the HTC M9 are a couple of nice light weight Android skins(i.e. they are not bloated).

2. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

I dont know why ppl chose stock. Look at the camera app, it's so horrible. No theme control, boring features. If you want stock, just use Nova Launxher

18. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

But Android is more than just a home screen, UI. There is more to an OS than that.

3. vivaapple

Posts: 31; Member since: Jun 02, 2015

Android Stock is very boring. Of course you can defend that is the beauty of android, you can customize what you want. That is because you can't take anymore that boring UI.

5. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Stock android = ugly, featureless, bad battery life

6. NonFanBoy

Posts: 180; Member since: May 28, 2015

I would prefer stock android with the extra features offered by the manufacturers and few basic enhancements like the camera app. Only motorola comes close and

7. NonFanBoy

Posts: 180; Member since: May 28, 2015

*And unsurprisingly they offer a very smooth UI experience.

9. mihulsingh

Posts: 26; Member since: Mar 05, 2014

It should be like all phone manufacturers should release an AOSP build for all of their phones, they would come pre-installed with their skins, but if the user wants stock android, they could just flash it using the stock recovery without losing the warranty.

10. MDave

Posts: 210; Member since: Apr 09, 2015

Stock Android is horrible. They can't even get volume controls right ffs.

19. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

One of the things I loved about CyanogenMOD back in the day. I dont really use ROMs anymore, I use apps here n there for certain features.

11. dimas

Posts: 3363; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Stock android sucks. Too buggy and battery draining. Manufacturer UI have flaws but tolerable and quickly fixed by updates. Google only placed power saving mode on M when manufacturers customized their own. I'm going apple or windows if I want stock OS.

13. dmakun

Posts: 382; Member since: Jun 06, 2011

If Google's android was only available in Stock alone it would never have been as successful a platform as it is today. Imaging if the nexus stock Android were to compete with iOS and Windows in their latest form it would only have customization alone for bragging rights. The efforts that oem skins have had on the Android platform is grossly underappreciated. All the "new" features of stock Android today are borrowed from OEM skins and this is why Android is far and above the competition when you compare features and hardware.

15. DroidDaddyo

Posts: 35; Member since: Jan 18, 2015

I've got to wonder what percentage of the people that say the love stock, actually use it in it's pure stock form. For example, I don't think it should count as stock if you slap a launcher on top of it so you don't have to use actual stock or root it so they can change something that doesn't quite work the way they like it. I'd say if they do either of the above, then it's no longer stock and they're making the case for manufacturers to apply a skin - because stock has never had all the features (some useful, some not) that manufacturers have developed. I personally prefer LG's extra customization features to stock. What's frustrating about using a manufacturer skin is that you have to deal with bugs much longer because the updates are far less frequent.

20. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

So true. Back when the Droid 1 was so popular...maybe right before or after 2.2 came out. Many always talked about how they loved stock Android.... Then proceeded to use custom ROMs with many features not in stock Android, that looked different than stock Android and launchers.... I am one of the few that didnt really like Stock Android until ICS. After ICS some apps I didnt really use anymore and I felt the want, need to use custom ROMs fade away.

16. phonehome

Posts: 812; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

I prefer a removable battery. SD card expansion is nice as well.

23. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

I used stock Android on my Nexus 6. The problem is to get all the features you want you have to add allot of apps. But maybe that is better than buying a phone where the apps have been chosen for you.

24. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

for those saying stock has a bad camera app or other apps... the whole point of stock is that you can customise it your own way with your own apps and not relying on the manufacturer to do it for you. you can put your favourite camera app on there.

29. M.O.A.B

Posts: 319; Member since: Feb 13, 2015

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