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3 Ways Android OEMs Ruin Android.

Jullian Robin Sibi 18

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

android oems faces
If you’re just a normal user, you’d have a hard time recognizing one Android phone from another.

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.

Fragmentation

android oems fragmentation
This image is taken from Android’s developer page.

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.

Security Updates

android oems security

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.

android oems google lockup

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!

  1. JD JD

    Wow. I just had epistaxis. HAHA! But I kind of got what you pointed out here. I used to like Android but nothing’s quite like iOS. 😀

  2. You just ruined the Android experience for me! Actually, I really do not have much complaints with Android or even IOS. As long as I can play my games and use my favorite apps, I really do not care what level of customization others are doing. Anyway, it is good to know that you care. You better email Google and give them a piece of your mind.

  3. I think the greatest edge for android is its flexibility when it comes to customization and it’s open source. Startups, students who are less fortunate and can’t afford yet an Apple product still can explore and practice their development skills on Android Platform. Everything has pros and cons, and one of my hatest disadvantage is getting stuck with the old Android OS, one reason that made me transfer to iOS.

    I think it’s personal preference whether Android or iOS. What matters most for me is usability, security and efficiency. And I’m happy to be using iOS for more than a year 🙂

  4. I used to like Android because of its versatility most especially when exchanging document files from one phone to another. You can use bluetooth or OTGs. However, someone advised me not to update my OS because it will cause my phone to slow down. So there are some applications of android that are incompatible with my OS. Unlike in Apple, you can always have a newer OS even though your phone is an old model. :3 Good thing Share It exists because I can transfer files from my android phone to my ipad and vice versa.

  5. I don’t really have much complaints with iOS or Android. I simply can’t differentiate since I have been using iOS for more than three years. Hahaha.

  6. I can’t really say something bad about my experience with android since I’m not an Android user. But I can see your point about phones being confused with another kind of phone tho. =)

  7. You know that I consider technical people smart enough? Basically because I’m not skillful at it, I’ve read your blog post for twice cause the thoughts can’t sink in. (Hahaha). I’m getting a line of knowledge from your blog post. I’m also not fond of apple ( Sorry apple users) Ever since, I loved android. Complaints about android? Just like what I said I’m not teche person, so I don’t have complaints.

  8. Rea Rea

    I’m an Android. Always been. Always will. Lol. But that’s only because I never tried Apple. I’m kinda allergic to expensive gadgets (even the Android ones). So far I didn’t have probs with it or maybe because I didn’t really pay too much attention. All I know is that the best things in life are free.. Like Oppo. Hahaha.

    I’m impressed with how you put this info together though!

  9. Well, you have raised some valid points above. These are considerably correct. In fact, I hate how Asus handles Zenfone. I don’t have the latest OS version yet. Lahi ra sa akong Macbook na I just updated to Sierra two days ago. Is there another good alternative aside from the pricey Apple?

  10. I tried Android and IOS and for a non-nin techy user like me, I liked IOS for the fact that the interface remains the same. It’s user friendly and you’ll always know where to go and tweak something even if you made an upgrade or switch from smartphone to iPad. Android though has more flexibility when it comes to sharing files.

  11. The whole open-source state of affairs has always been a double-edged sword. It leads to good things because of its open nature and most developers being left on their own accord to do whatever they wish, but at the same time, that same openness does also lead to some not-so-desirable things. But, same with democracy, I’d still very much prefer the freedom over the opposite. Hahaha.

  12. NNot really that a gadget savvy but my years of experience with Android before was just ok. Yah. Just ok. I started liking iOS the day I started using my iPhone and I couldn’t help but compare the two. I learned a lot from this post Julz! Nag nosebleed ko gamay pero yeko ar! Haha!

    x, Kat of Nested Thoughts

  13. Grabe! I read this na, pero karon ra ko makacomment. Anyways, I should bow down to you Julz. Reading your tech blog entries are really witty. You’re the next person that I’ll be saying this to, ‘how to be you po?’ Tech savvy should not miss your points and thoughts about the latest gadgets coming in in town!.

  14. The one thing I hate about Android is their memory issue. I have forgotten if they already addressed that but, otherwise, I have no other qualms about Android (except iOS is definitely much, much faster).

    This post reminds me of my dev life — I’ve coded in Android once and now I miss coding (in general). Haha. Awesome post, Jullian! 😀

    • Thanks Pam! I hope Android gets better and better so that iOS gets better and better too. And vice versa! 😀

  15. My nose is bleeding right now. I have very little knowledge about your tech world but I am willing to learn. This is the first time I heard about fragmentation in a smart phone and I don’t like the fact that it’s hard to tell if a smart phone is Android based on its skin. Reminds me of the senate. So hard to pinpoint the crocodiles from the sheep there.

    Love,
    http://www.channelmarie.com

  16. And this is the reason I go with iOS. And if i can afford it i would go for the Nexus or Pixel as the updates are coming straight from Google. OEMs wants to make a difference in software but should have focused on hardware enhancement to make the android experience better. No ugly overlays and bloated apps.

  17. I’ve been using Android from the start I got my first phone but I tried using IOS phones but I hate also about it since I can’ transfer ios to android phones but the listed above is true. I think OEM’s do that in branding especially the UI of each android version.

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