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    Default Pure Android devices?

    I've just discovered that some devices run Android, but others, like Samsung Galaxy devices, run Android + Touchwiz.
    Being the supreme techtard that I am, I never even knew that.
    I was told "stock Android" or "vanilla Android" runs better than Android + Touchwiz.

    So... Which devices (brands) run stock Android? I'm just curious.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    The only true " Pure Vanilla " devices are Google Nexus devices like the Nexus 5 (Phone) or Nexus 7 or 10 (Tablets). These are running official pure vanilla Android OS. There is no carrier or OEM bloatware on these devices. These devices receive their updates directly from Google.

    The next closest thing to pure vanilla Android is devices like HTC One or Galaxy S ( Developer or Google Play Edition ) devices. These are running very close to stock Android OS versions too, and have no OEM UI skin over them. These devices claim to be fast to receive updates like a Nexus but still have some carrier involvement in the update process. NOTE: These versions compared to the regular HTC One or Galaxy S versions with Sense or Touchwiz UI Skins may have some differences in camera software and other areas because they aren't using the " custom " Samsung or HTC firmware with all the perks and features.
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  3. #3  

    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Vanilla Android is the basic unadulterated version that you see on Nexus devices. Other manufacturers take vanilla Android and modify it with a varying amount of UI changes and additional features, which makes up their "skin." Some skins are fairly light (like Motorola's, which keeps much of the look of vanilla Android), while others are pretty heavily modified (like Samsung's TouchWiz). Others are somewhere in the middle (like HTC's Sense and LG's skin).

    In general, vanilla Android will be more likely to run smoothly on a device because there aren't any fancy animations or additional features bogging it down. TouchWiz can be laggy depending on the hardware, but my understanding has been that it is quite smooth on Samsung's flagships like the S4 and S5.
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  4. #4  

    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilguppy View Post
    I was told "stock Android" or "vanilla Android" runs better than Android + Touchwiz.
    Well, in general, they would.... 'stock' Android will come without all the extra added on OEM bloat.... extra animations, themes, etc. OEMs tend to throw a bunch of stuff at you because features make for great talking points on marketing material. Things like multi-tasking suffer a bit because more memory is tied up with OS-level stuff, so apps end up with a smaller piece of the memory pie to work with. And the more functions that are loaded into the OS, the more the phone has to do in the background to keep things moving. Motorola runs an OS pretty close to stock, optimized it well and ended up with a device in the Moto X that performed better than its hardware specs would lead you to believe... they didn't make the phone faster, they just didn't slow it down.

    But stock Android just has a cleaner, appearance.

    For example... this is a shot of a notification panel on Touchwiz, which combines notifications and quick toggles in one window. I had two Samsung devices before my current Nexus 5 and I always found that window annoying.... Nearly half of the screen was tied up with busy toggles and sliders and headers and it only held a few notifications. I'm interested in notifications far more than I fuss with settings/toggles, so it was wasted space.

    Pure Android devices?-s5notif.jpg

    Now here is a Nexus 5.... the left screen shot is the notification panel the other is the quick settings panel that can be accessed by clicking on the top right icon in notifications or by dragging on the far right portion of the top of the screen (does stock have quick pulldown?? can't remember)..in any case, notifications are in the notification window, quick settings/toggles are in the quick settings/toggles window....

    Pure Android devices?-notifications.jpg

    Now, to each their own, I suppose.... but I prefer the much cleaner approach of the split window approach that stock Android uses over the "cram it all in one window" TW.
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    This is why I love reading the forums. I learned something new. Giving thanks.

    Posted via Android Central App
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    As far as I know, there are no "stock" devices on the market, if by stock we mean AOSP. Nexus is the closest, with the Google experience included followed by the Moto G Google Play Edition, which is the closest to the Nexus line. After that are the Moto devices (2013 line up only) which are the least modified from the Nexus experience with some extra features and a slightly different launcher out of the box. Next would be the other Google Play editions (some may wonder why these aren't with the moto and it's because they still have the underlying framework of their native OEM skins with a layer that is essentially made to look and feel like the Google devices). After that Nvidia and Asus seem to stay away from "skins" lately or use very light skins in the case of Asus.

    So in closeness to the source that'd be Nexus > Moto G GPE > Moto G > Moto X > HTC One M8 GPE/Samsung Galaxy S4 GPE > whatever else.

    Essentially for consumers looking for stock, this means buy something from the Google Play Store or a Moto X/Moto G.
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilguppy View Post
    I've just discovered that some devices run Android, but others, like Samsung Galaxy devices, run Android + Touchwiz.
    Being the supreme techtard that I am, I never even knew that.
    I was told "stock Android" or "vanilla Android" runs better than Android + Touchwiz.

    So... Which devices (brands) run stock Android? I'm just curious.
    Nexus. All GPE devices. Moto X runs very close to vanilla. I believe the new Nvidia Shield tablet runs vanilla.

    Stock Android does not include Google services, but generally when someone says "vanilla android" they are talking about stock + Google. If they mean just Android alone, they will say "AOSP" (Android Open Source). I am sure there are AOSP devices on the market but I can't think of any. I had a low end tablet a long time ago that was AOSP.

    As far as I know, GPE devices are just as vanilla as any Nexus device. The only difference is that they are not directly supported by Google. They are supported by the OEM (Samsung, HTC, ect). But they have no skin or bloatware, and have Google services installed.

    Many Chinese phones run Vanilla Android as well. Probably because it is very cheap and easy to upgrade (no skin to maintain).
  8. #8  
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    As far as I know, GPE devices are just as vanilla as any Nexus device. The only difference is that they are not directly supported by Google. They are supported by the OEM (Samsung, HTC, ect). But they have no skin or bloatware, and have Google services installed.
    The distinctions are subtle and for nearly all consumers entirely behind the scenes. Basically, the underlying framework on an HTC One M7 and the HTC One M7 GPE are nearly identical. This is for a variety of reasons, including the support of hardware and features native to the M7 that are not on Nexus devices (boom sound as an example). The S4 GPE had similar obvious supported things, such as their version of 2013 SD Card support, the view that the S4's case provided of summary information (clock, etc) and the physical home button. Rather than rewriting all of the support for all of those features into stock, they merely made what are for the most part cosmetic changes to the UI & animations, removing nearly all visual clues (and the drawback and benefits) that are commonly associated with Sense and TouchWiz. The software is written by, maintained and updated by the OEM's. This is another symptom of the common term "skin" to refer to what are more accurately very different builds of Android (Sense, TouchWiz, etc) in that they minimize that actual underlying differences that are much deeper than cosmetic. Generally when we use the term, we all have some concept of what each other mean, but it leads to the misconception that a skin can be removed, and it cannot.... not without adding back in a substantial amount of code to replace the hooks left broken by stripping out those libraries.

    To create a GPE device, we'd basically have two choices available: 1. Apply Google "stock" Android, rework the camera and other featurette software mechanisms still included and rewrite the kernel accordingly - this is more or less what CyanogenMod did for a long time, while adding in their own "skin" and launcher or 2. Remove nonconforming features and toggle off specific code while using existing code from Google to rework the UI. They did the second, although they definitely have it within their power to do either and most of us wouldn't be able to tell the difference which path they took. I never really cared or looked into it except that Jerry & Phil in their reviews dropped some hints (and reinforced it this year in the podcast) that made me curious when they were coming out.

    For all but the most specific of intents and purposes, you're right - we could think of it as vanilla, but it's much in the same way that you can label a wolf as a dog (or in this case, the reverse of that) ... yes, but also no.
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Spock View Post
    For all but the most specific of intents and purposes, you're right - we could think of it as vanilla, but it's much in the same way that you can label a wolf as a dog (or in this case, the reverse of that) ... yes, but also no.
    The only thing different about GPE devices is the drivers for their hardware (camera, display ect). The OS is otherwise the same as what you get on a Nexus. Android has supported hardware home buttons before, so I don't consider this a deviation from stock. It's not something that is introduced by a vendor skin.

    Technically, no drivers are "stock" Android. Even the Nexus is actually an LG phone. It's using LG drivers. It's not native to Android any more than GPE devices are. So IMO, GPE devices are just as vanilla/stock as the Nexus is.

    SD cards are stock Android as well...Android includes support for SD even though Google stupidly and pointlessly left it out of the Nexus.
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    The OS is otherwise the same as what you get on a Nexus.
    This was the crux of my post - it's not at all the same. It looks and feels very similar but the actual framework is entirely different. One difference would be enough to be different and there are hundreds. It's not stock with a different kernel, it's closer to more accurate to think of it as Sense or TouchWiz camouflaged as vanilla. I really don't like telling people to go search, but this is something that can be researched. Just AC's podcasts and blog posts are enough to highlight some crucial differences.

    Props to all involved for making the deception so convincing. Of course, that's mainly due to some much stricter guidelines of how those devices will look and feel, but it really is hard to tell without noticing the aforementioned clues... ie features that are not hardware dependant yet are included in GPE devices but not on Nexus devices. That and the explanations by the blog staff of AC and other sites. I don't pretend to be an expert on Google's coding practices and the minutia of firmware politics, but I do like reading it and I generally do trust the actual experts.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    Android has supported hardware home buttons before, so I don't consider this a deviation from stock.
    Support for physical *navigation* buttons has to be added in and is technically a violation of the design guidelines. It hasn't been included in the source since the end of 2012. It's not a foreign concept, but it's foreign code.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    It's not something that is introduced by a vendor skin.
    Physical buttons are supported, such as volume and power. Physical navigation buttons are not supported and that support is added by the OEM.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    So IMO, GPE devices are just as vanilla/stock as the Nexus is.
    I could buy into an argument that they're both different from AOSP and thus if we think in binary terms, they are not stock. But they're also not the same as each other. The analogy here is that neither you nor I are Marilyn Monroe - but that doesn't mean we're the same person.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    SD cards are stock Android as well...Android includes support for SD even though Google stupidly and pointlessly left it out of the Nexus.
    SD cards were not until Kit Kat directly supported since 2011. Now that they are supported, it's a moot point, but in any case Samsung's implementation was completely different than how they were read by other Android devices prior to Kit Kat. Now they're much more similar. And since there is official support with Kit Kat and the future L release, we may see cards included in Nexus devices. Regardless of the future of SD cards, the S4 GPE uses Samsung code native to the Galaxy S4 (touchwiz version) to support that feature.

    And the exception to all of that stuff is the Moto G, which was - due to Moto's very near stock implementation - so close to stock that removing Moto's customizations essentially makes it a very closely related deviation from the Google line.

    The differences are mostly all below the surface, but not caring about them doesn't make those differences not exist. I'll fully admit, to 99%+ of consumers, the differences would be nearly invisible, but that doesn't mean they actually are the same.

    I suppose if we really want to hash this out, we can create a thread on the differences between GPE and Nexus devices.
  11. #11  

    Default

    I would have to agree on what is said about GPE being different from AOSP. I have built from Google source code and modified things along the way many times . I have themed many ROMs in the past too and I can bet if I was to look at source code alone and compare them using various Linux based apps I could find plenty of differences in them. Some maybe slightly noticeable to the end user and most under the hood that you would never see but there is a difference between what GPE and AOSP / Nexus are running. As for the binaries that is where the real changes would mostlikely come into play where the OEM has customized things over what Google originated the code and built it for usage on the Nexus.
  12. #12  

    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    By the way.... You'll see a lot about how the stock deployments are smoother, or quicker... And in many cases, that holds true. For instance... comparing multi-tasking on a Nexus 5 with a Galaxy S5.... The S5's OS loads a metric crap-ton of stuff when it boots, and it stuffs quite a lot of extra stuff in memory. If you have a bunch of apps loaded, users of the Nexus will find that switching apps in the recents menu will often be quicker, since Android has more 'free' memory (memory not locked into OS-level stuff) and can keep more apps active in memory.... So when you switch to the app, it pops up just like it's been running all along, rather than it loading as if you just launched it.

    I will say this too.... more often than not, when an app jitters and jumps, it's the app, not the phone, that is the cause. I just swapped out my Nexus 5 for a LG G3.... and the apps that were smooth on the 5 are smooth on the G3 and the apps that jitter on the 5 pretty much still jitter on the G3.

    But my wife has a stock, lightly modified Nexus 5... and it's hard to put a finger on it, but it's just so buttery smooth.... my old (HEAVILY modified) Nexus 5 never even quite seemed as slick... but I had a custom ROM, jacked the DPI settings down, etc. The new G3? I'd actually put on par with my modified Nexus 5.... but I've only had it a day and I've already fussed with it (rooted, Xposed, etc).
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Spock View Post
    This was the crux of my post - it's not at all the same. It looks and feels very similar but the actual framework is entirely different. One difference would be enough to be different and there are hundreds. It's not stock with a different kernel, it's closer to more accurate to think of it as Sense or TouchWiz camouflaged as vanilla.
    Totally disagree. Sense and Touchwiz add non-Android features. I have not seen any evidence of a "non-Android framework". Other than the drivers for the different hardware, I have not seen any differences in it at all. It's not merely sense and touchwiz with a vanilla skin.

    Google Experience devices are Google-sanctioned Android devices that, while not carrying the Google Nexus branding, still ship with a 'stock' build of the operating system modified only to cater for device-specific hardware features. Updates for these devices are delivered by Google (bypassing carriers), but are supplied by the original device manufacturer. The term is often referred to as Google Play edition.

    Google Experience device - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    I don't think Google would allow them on the play store if they were polluted with a Sense/Touchwiz skin, no matter how light.

    I really don't like telling people to go search, but this is something that can be researched.
    If you have a better source than wikipedia, I would be very interested in reading it. Wikipedia does source all the claims above.

    And since there is official support with Kit Kat and the future L release, we may see cards included in Nexus devices.
    I am not holding my breath. Google does not want us using local storage. I do not think they are refusing to include SD support for technical reasons...I think it is entirely ideology. I don't expect it to change.
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    Totally disagree. Sense and Touchwiz add non-Android features. I have not seen any evidence of a "non-Android framework". Other than the drivers for the different hardware, I have not seen any differences in it at all. It's not merely sense and touchwiz with a vanilla skin.



    I don't think Google would allow them on the play store if they were polluted with a Sense/Touchwiz skin, no matter how light.



    If you have a better source than wikipedia, I would be very interested in reading it. Wikipedia does source all the claims above.


    I am not holding my breath. Google does not want us using local storage. I do not think they are refusing to include SD support for technical reasons...I think it is entirely ideology. I don't expect it to change.
    The source cited is an article from the Verge which says within the article that neither device is technically stock android and that they include sense and touchwiz features. So apparently the Verge, Android Central, Android Authority, Google, Samsung & HTC are aware of the distinctions described earlier, yet the author of that Wiki portion decided either not to read or not to report on that nuance.

    Again, Sense and Touchwiz are not skins and they are not launchers. They are the names of the framework which include a UI, launcher and are mislabeled as skins. I'm unclear on the intent of the statement about Google allowing it on the Play Store. The OEM receives guidelines which they are required to work within and if those are met, it's sold. The relationship has always been a partnership. HTC isn't trying to sell via another channel and trying to obtain Google's consent... they're working together. Google provides the guidelines, HTC does up the code and it sells. Sense and Touchwiz cannot be reduced down to AOSP and especially not to Google's framework. They're not skins which just add cosmetic and minor functionality changes to stock - they're wholly rewritten sets of code with some basic commonalities.

    As for the SD card thing... many people have tried to explain in great detail the security and performance issues that Google has consistently cited prior to them reworking and implementing official support for that technology and you've chosen never to absorb a word of it. If it were indeed some conspiracy to promote cloud storage, why would they have addressed the problems instead of just outright banning the use of that tech on their platform? That issue, like this one, seems to be one where you're going to believe whatever you want despite a multitude of official sources, including 'the source' explaining the reality of the situation.
  15. #15  

    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    The only stock/vanilla android devices are the nexus devices. But you can load stock android onto for became a GS5 with root access

    Posted via Android Central App
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Spock View Post
    The source cited is an article from the Verge which says within the article that neither device is technically stock android and that they include sense and touchwiz features..
    I think you are talking about this:

    Also, neither of these phones are technically "Bone Stock" Android. The Galaxy S4 comes with a "TouchWiz" feature: it works with Samsung’s S-View Flip Cover for displaying information when the screen is off. HTC’s One comes with Beats Audio hidden away in a checkbox within settings (but thankfully not in the notification bar). The skinned version of the One sounds much better with Beats than the stock version does, with less distortion. Turning on Beats Audio on the stock One seemed to dampen sound while adding only a small bit of bass.

    Pure Android: Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One 'Google Play editions' review | The Verge
    IMO, these are the same thing as device drivers. They are doing something for hardware (a flip cover for the S4, and the speakers in the One)...they are not adding software features, and are certainly not functioning as a "framework" as far as I can tell.

    The article does not say there is a touchwise/Sense skin on these phones. Not even a light one. It is stock Android with drivers for specific hardware items. By contrast, these are examples of software features:

    HTC’s Blinkfeed, Samsung’s crazy eyeball sensing technology, and all the rest of those custom add-ons always felt like they were meant more for a showroom floor demo than actual day-to-day use.

    Pure Android: Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One 'Google Play editions' review | The Verge
    And they are not present in the GPE versions.
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    I think you are talking about this:



    IMO, these are the same thing as device drivers. They are doing something for hardware (a flip cover for the S4, and the speakers in the One)...they are not adding software features, and are certainly not functioning as a "framework" as far as I can tell.

    The article does not say there is a touchwise/Sense skin on these phones. Not even a light one. It is stock Android with drivers for specific hardware items. By contrast, these are examples of software features:



    And they are not present in the GPE versions.
    Of course the article doesn't say there is a skin on it. You haven't read a word of the distinctions between skins and framework. My argument isn't that they have blinkfeed, etc.

    The next sentence also had more of a clue about it, but it's sorta pointless. Paraphrasing what you stated in another thread just yesterday, some things aren't opinions. Those things generally have to do with hardware, but also apply to code. Here is the nuance: Either the GPE devices have "stock" Google android on them, or they do not. One piece of modified code outside of the kernel, one single character difference, would mean that they do not and we have proof that the one difference exists. There are many of them. Therefore, your argument cannot be correct. Now as to whether or not my interpretation of how those differences are implemented is or is not correct, we could debate that ... but again, that ought to take place in another thread as it doesn't help the OP or others identify which devices are closest to stock.
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    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Spock View Post
    Of course the article doesn't say there is a skin on it. You haven't read a word of the distinctions between skins and framework. My argument isn't that they have blinkfeed, etc.

    The next sentence also had more of a clue about it, but it's sorta pointless. Paraphrasing what you stated in another thread just yesterday, some things aren't opinions. Those things generally have to do with hardware, but also apply to code. Here is the nuance: Either the GPE devices have "stock" Google android on them, or they do not.
    If you're just arguing semantics, thats fine. But there is no Touchwiz of Sense "framework" on these phones...just drivers for stuff.

    Like I said, if you have actual sources I'd be happy to look at them. You told me to go research, and I did that. Every source I have researched so far agrees with my initial assumptions. You are saying they are wrong...which is fine. I'd like to see the sources your are using as evidence they are wrong.

    For all intents and purposes, GPE devices are stock Android. They have no resource-hogging customizations. Except for the specific hardware stuff, they will function like a Nexus device, which is what the OP was asking.
  19. #19  

    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    I like the vanilla android os better then anything else.

    Nexus 5 all day..

    I really dislike touchwiz on Samsung

    Posted from Google Nexus 5
  20. #20  

    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    The motor g, moto x, and droidmaxx also run stock because Motorola is owned by google

    Sent from my LG G3 (D850) via Android Central App
  21. #21  

    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    If you love stock Android then buy a Nexus 5 and you will be more then happy
  22. #22  

    Default Re: Pure Android devices?

    If you want Android for a ridiculously affordable yet unlocked and unsubsidized price, the Motorola Moto G is your ticket. Compact and well-crafted, the Moto G comes packing Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box with a promise of a fresh update to KitKat around the corner.

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