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

While techies will know this, here's how Android development works in essence: Google is in charge of developing the base, on which all other customizations worked out by third-parties are put on top of. So what you're seeing on your Samsung Galaxy device is built on top of the code from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), and the reason manufacturers bother to do this mainly has to do with their belief that it helps them gain a competitive edge.

But while manufacturers skins do bring extra functionality to the table, there are inherent costs involved, as providing support and future updates for a large portfolio of devices, each running on custom code, can be expensive and quite time consuming. As a result, folks who want to have the very latest in Android usually stick to devices with stock or 'vanilla' Android, like the Google Nexus line or even Motorola's bare bones smartphones. A while back, you could still get Samsung, Sony, or HTC hardware with virgin Android running on them, courtesy of the Google Play Edition program, but that has died out and we haven't seen new phones join the ranks in a long while.

It's not just about the speed of the update process, though, as stability and performance are (typically) impacted negatively whenever a third-party builds on top of Android. Sure, there are (very rare) exceptions to this rule, but it's generally the way it is. With that, and the above, in mind, would you have preferred it if your smartphone came with stock Android instead of a manufacturer skin?

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




1. deanylev

Posts: 234; Member since: Mar 11, 2014

Nope. Sony's lollipop skin is absolutely perfect.

2. Theus

Posts: 13; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

Absolutely agree!

12. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Yes i would prefer the stock one only if the update is instant and directly from google... otherwise my Z2 has a great interface....

13. andu99

Posts: 6; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Yes, I love it.

17. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

i like Sony's UI, but i still prefer some more tweak here and there, such as the dual-windowed multitasking mode ( Small Apps are not enough TBH), better quick setting UI, ...

23. josephnero

Posts: 780; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Agreed.Sony UI =Google + best and minimal tweaks and apps

26. vincelongman

Posts: 5695; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Sony and Moto have great minimal skins My issue is they still take over 3 months to update their phones I wish Google (or someone else) would make an official framework for mods (similar to Xposed) for AOSP Then the OEMs could add their extra features and optimizations using that framework And then apply their own themes using the RRO theme engine (already in AOSP/Stock Android)

51. Niva.

Posts: 440; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

That would be sensible, but then OEMs would make it difficult to sell their new devices since the old devices would be much more up to date and capable than they are these days. OEMs do these "skins" only to increase their sales, not so much due to the innovation of how much better these skins are, but to have an excuse to delay or stop updates to their already sold devices.

35. alex3run

Posts: 715; Member since: May 18, 2014

Stock Android UI is just ugly. Anyway it is better to have a manufacturer's UI rather than stock.

42. tahnik

Posts: 200; Member since: Jul 17, 2011

I really miss the Sony's lollipop after buying nexus 6 :(

46. waddup121 unregistered


3. calim

Posts: 40; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

No, I use the Nexus 9 and the Z3+. I like both versions but I think Sonys skin has the edge. I had a Galaxy Tab last year but I returned it after two weeks, mostly because of the skin, but also because the Nexus 9 was more up my alley.

4. Jason2k13

Posts: 1462; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

No thanks, with Samsung's material design theme + nova launcher, I have the best of both worlds. Samsung features, the look of stock android and the speed of nova launcher, you cant go wrong with that.

18. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

things go beyond how the UI looks. Nova doesn't fix the occasional slowdowns, lag issue with the tax switcher, or the bloat on my Note 4. That being said, I think Samsung's hardware is class leading which is why I think it still has the edge over other OEMs.

50. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Ll devices lag, stop repeating this lame BS about devices. All computers lag. Its normal. if you're device doesn't lag then that means it doesn't do anything advanced or otherwise.

19. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

Samsung plus Nova perfect combination.

5. SitiNurbaya0

Posts: 153; Member since: May 22, 2015

I have use several android devices. I like the nexus skin because itis good and simple I also like samsung galaxy note 4 skin because it's good. i HATE the xiaomi mi 4i skin. i like the phone, but I REALLY HATE xiaomi skin. Itis ugly and look bad, like ipon skin.

6. alexvv

Posts: 165; Member since: Oct 16, 2013

light skins with some extra functionality are usually better, i.e. motorola, sony etc

7. luis.d

Posts: 354; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

A resounding yes! But I realize that the liberty of customizing Android to create the user experience that the manufacturer envisions should never be removed, especially since vendors are trying harder than ever these days.

8. Android_Lollipop

Posts: 155; Member since: May 05, 2015

I agree, considering both the opinions, it would be great if the device manufactures gives us the option to switch between stock android and manufacturer skin during device setup or enable few manufacturer's skin features as a plug-in to stock when required.

9. Zylam

Posts: 1817; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Google should add an official theme engine, not the general change icons etc but an incredibly deep running, from the 'core' engine that's let's the Oems apply themes that run as deep as their skins do, with the ability to add programmable commands like the toggles etc.. Oems already replace Google Apps with their apps that isn't a problem as you can just reinstall the gapps. This would effectively allow all Oems to run stock Android with their theme acting as a deep skin and hence upgrading the OS etc wouldn't be as hard or long of a process. Google should also add side loading drivers and kernels for all the addition hardware that Oems put in their and have a section in the play store for just them, this will allow Oems to update their specific kernels and hardware drivers outside of Os builds. I honestly have no idea why this hasn't happened already. Android fragmention is getting worse, we now have different theme engines being deployed by Oems skins.. It's going off the rails.

25. vincelongman

Posts: 5695; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

There is already a theme engine in stock Android Its called RRO, it was actually Sony's, but Sony added it into AOSP Its what Sony, Samsung and HTC are using But a theme engine is not enough since OEMs also like to put in extra features and optimizations If Google (or someone else) made an official Xposed framework for AOSP, then they OEMs could add their extra features and optimizations as well as theme it

10. nothingmuch

Posts: 201; Member since: May 03, 2013

Nope, I like manufacturer skins, it gives each device a finesse of its own.

11. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

I personally prefer TW, offer more feature & if you feel it slowing the device performance simply install custom launcher and turn off s-voice.

14. drunkenjay

Posts: 1675; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

i actually like touchwiz. the only problem is with the touchwiz skinning on top of android. get tizen with google playstore and it would be pretty good.

15. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

Yes. If not it would be like the case of android wear. Not that Much of competition. Skins bring awesome new features but they should look beautiful and run smoothly.

16. darkkjedii

Posts: 31073; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Touchwiz is awesome, theme store theme store theme store. If only Apple had skins, round transparent icons would be nice. Who am I kidding though, won't happen. iSkin.

28. dimas

Posts: 3369; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Apple: You want customizable OS skin? Additional $200 won't hurt you, right?

30. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

Would be great if Note 4 get same treat since it's one of Samsung latest flagship

34. darkkjedii

Posts: 31073; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Should get it with the next update I think.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.