Stock Android is Overrated

There, I said it. Stock Android is overrated. Let the Android purists huff and puff, but that’s the truth. I am an Android user myself, and I would never buy an iPhone. So don’t think that I am one of those Apple fanboys. What I am trying to say is that Android, with its custom skins, like HTC’s Sense, or Samsung’s Touchwiz is a lot better than the pure Android found in the Nexus devices amongst other phones such as the Moto and OnePlus phones. The complaint that a skin might slow down the phone is not 100% true in 2016. Sense is one of the most light, smooth and beautiful launcher out there and Samsung has streamlined Touchwiz a lot and it is only going to get better. Let me explain.

I have been using an HTC phone for the past 3.5 years and for the first time I bought a stock Android phone — the OnePlus 3. True, it’s not exactly pure Android and OnePlus calls its skin “Oxygen OS”. But this Oxygen OS is just stock Android with a few modifications and so I classify OnePlus, and also Moto phones, as stock Android phones. I have observed that stock Android simply does not have the many options that I found so useful in my four-year-old HTC One X. A month ago, I was reading the reviews of HTC 10 and I read about how HTC, in its attempt to make Sense even lighter, has shipped the phone without some of its Sense applications as they did not want duplicate applications on the phone in addition to the stock Google apps. Why, HTC, why? This is simply stupid because people are anyway going to hunt the Play store and install apps to replace the stock Google apps anyway! The stock Google apps are too simple and lack the features that companies like HTC and Samsung provide. So there will be duplicate applications on all stock Android phones! The default Google phone dialer doesn’t even have the option to block calls! This is something that the HTC One X has and I don’t have to remind you again that this phone came out four years ago! So far, I have replaced the phone dialer, the default browser, Google Chrome, the messaging app, the stupid Play Music app, the joke that is Google Photos (at least OnePlus provides a proper gallery app), and the featureless camera app. I have a duplicate app for every single Google app except for the Play store, Gmail, YouTube, and Google maps. So HTC, please tell me, again, why did you replace some of your applications? The so-called Android purists are going to install duplicate apps anyway. One of the reasons why I dislike iOS is because it is such a boring OS and now stock Android is almost boring to me. Why can’t Google learn from HTC and Samsung? I see that they are borrowing ideas from Samsung and other Android OEMs, but they are still slow. Even the calendar app is so primitive to what I had in the HTC One X (and that came out four years ago). The number one app that frustrates me is the phone dialer (which also includes the contacts), and the number two app is the messenger. Pathetic. Why is Google doing this? Is it because Android will become too slow if they add more features? But HTC phones are not slow. Is it because they follow a stupid policy of minimalism? I am not a fan of this “material design” and I also hate Microsft’s Modern UI. Why do we have to put up with this kind of crap in the name of minimalism? Windows 7 still looks good and Microsoft should have gone in that direction. If Android purists really love pure Android, then there should not be any app on their phones that duplicates a Google app. But clearly, that is not the case. Hypocrites. These people have no right to criticize HTC’s Sense and Samsung’s Touchwiz. How many reviews have I read that make fun of the fact that there are two email apps, two browsers, two messaging apps on Samsung phones. Whose fault is that? It is Google’s fault for making such stupid apps that lack so many features. And it has been widely accepted that Samsung makes one of the best browsers and it is lighter and better optimized than Chrome. So who makes these “bloatware?” “Stock Android is clean, lean and is buttery smooth” — that’s because it doesn’t have the features that a 2011 HTC phone had.

It took about five or six years for a company like Google, with all its technical expertise, with all its financial might, and its great engineers to stabilize Android. It makes me wonder a lot. What could be the reason behind this? Of course, Android always has attempted to be better and proper OS compared to iOS and this could be a reason. But I think the main culprit is Java. And with all the trouble that Google is having with Oracle right now, I hope that Google ditches this language and moves on to something else. But would it Go?

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