When I was in high school, I used to tinker with tech. I developed this sort of habit to know what’s running on a certain piece of hardware. There was a time in my life where I hated the heck out of Apple. I really loved Nokia before because I appreciated their design and I REALLY REALLY HATED Apple. Android is something that reminds me of that time.
Each and every year, Google strives to make the latest version of Android the best yet. I’ve seen what Android really has to offer and it’s great for people who don’t like Apple’s walled garden. Despite that, I think OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) that use Android ruin the Android experience itself. It’s annoying to see others change the beauty and simplicity of “Stock Android” (as the tech literate call it).
Here are 3 ways Android OEMs ruin Android itself:
Android’s “Not the Same” Faces
A long-standing argument for Android is that it is fully customizable to the user’s liking. Unfortunately, that same level of customization can be done by these Android OEMs. For reference, here’s a comparison of the 6 major Android UI systems. It doesn’t even include the multitude of Android skins from Chinese manufacturers!
Since I feel like it, I’ll list down the Android skins I know:
- TouchWiz (Samsung)
- LG UX
- EMUI (Emotion UI) (Huawei)
- ColorOS (Oppo)
- MIUI (Xiaomi)
- Sense (HTC)
- Zen UI (Asus)
- Xperia UI (Sony)
I could go on, but I would be venturing into lesser known brands from other countries. Nevertheless, this differentiation in UI would cause a normal user to confuse one phone from another. Google can’t do much about it because it would cause these partners to move away from Android. (This scenario’s less likely today since there’s pretty much no other option. BlackBerry just recently moved to Android and Windows 10 isn’t getting much traction.
Another problem we get into because of these Android OEMs is this issue of fragmentation. I could blame Google for not doing much in this department. Due to the open-source nature of Android and the customization, the OEMs make getting those software updates harder to get. You may hate Apple, but Android fanboys (who aren’t Nexus owners) are mostly envious of the regular iOS software updates. It sucks that most Android users are still stuck in OS versions that were released 2-3 years ago!
It disappoints me to this day that despite Google’s efforts in making Android better, Google and Android’s OEMs haven’t made ANY significant effort to help solve this. I want the latest version of Android to go to a lot of users and not just those buying the latest smartphones.
Thanks to its open-source nature, Android generally gets a lot of malware and viruses. To mitigate these issues, Google decided to release monthly security updates to help users be protected against all the bad stuff.
For the same reasons that Android OEMs delay those software updates, they too delay these security updates to fit their needs. Although they are easier to deploy, OEMs have to test the update if it would have issues with their devices. I just wish it would just be a one-size-fits-all update for every single phone. Google has to find a way to make this possible for security AND software updates.
BONUS: Those Google Apps.
Unfortunately, Google’s not off the hook here. Google is also to be blamed for the current state of Android today. Because of them, Android is actually split into two: the Android that we know which has Google apps, and the AOSP (Android Open Source Project). While the Google one saw a lot of improvements through the years, AOSP saw little to no changes in the core apps. An article from Ars Technica shows more details on this weird predicament.
Anyway, that’s it for me about the ruined Android experience. What about you? Do you agree or disagree with some of these? Sound off in the comments below!