HTC One with Stock Android: The Virtue of Keeping it Clean
With so many different smartphones running on Android, it’s becoming harder to tell each device apart. It’s also becoming harder to recognize the core Android OS. HTC hopes to capitalize on this irritating brand dilution by releasing the HTC One with stock Android.
But HTC isn’t alone on their quest to get back to the basics. Samsung previously released the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition, which gives customers the user experience original Android developers intended. These moves suggest a significant shift of momentum from when handset makers downplayed their phone’s Android identity by plastering their names all over hardware, implementing software add-ons that departed from Google’s Android standards.
No bells and whistles
So how do stock Android phones differ from their modified brethren? First, they don’t have “skins” that change the look and feel of the Android user interface. Whether it’s a HTC or Samsung device, all stock Android phones share nearly identical appearances and operations.
Second, they forgo additional built-in features, like HTC One’s Beats Audio sound, for the sake of greater modification potential down the road. Although stock Androids may lack some popular bonus features when you first take them out of the box, users have more freedom to personalize their phone through the Google Play store. If a stock Android user wants the enhanced music playback of Beats Audio or the crisp picture of the Act 1 Video Player, they can easily download the app in a matter of seconds.
Simplicity is key
For most users, it makes little or no difference whether a feature is built into the operating system or provided through an app. And many users, like developers, appreciate the default Android interface over modified “skins” in the first place.
From a developer’s perspective, stock Androids have one more advantage over modified handsets: app cooperation. Apps designed for stock Androids can be relied on to work as intended. Universal apps have always been a strong selling point for Apple. Customers who care more about reliability than customization tend to chose iPhones over Android devices, but that may change once more stock handsets enter the market.
Android has matured enormously and now finds itself competing with Apple iOS on its own, especially with fragmentation becoming more and more a thing of the past. As the demand for Android rises, so will the sales of compatible devices. If the HTC One with Stock Android and the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition see a significant boost in market share, you can bet that other Android manufacturers will be quick to jump on board. And that’ll mean one Android for everybody.
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