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    Default Why Vanilla Android?

    I'm contemplating VZW's GS2 vs the Prime. Can someone tell me why they prefer vanilla over skinned, besides faster software updates? For me, I think skins somewhat improve functionality of the phone (e.g. app folders, email clients, music players, camera options, etc.). Not tryin to start a war; just wondering why I feel like I'm in the wrong for not salivating over a nexus device.
  2. #2  
    huskerkate's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android???

    as a vanilla android device, not only does it get OS updates faster (cuz the OEM doesn't have to worry about making sure its own skin is compatible with the OS), but it also has an unlocked bootloader.

    also, it's not just the skins that the OEMs use, it's all the bloatware that goes with it. it just takes up space. as far as skins go, i generally only use ADW, LPP, or GO, so those OEM skins don't really have anything i want.
  3. #3  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android???

    This is my own personal opinion of course, but my EVO hasn't been quite right since the Gingerbread update, and I feel that Sense has EVERYTHING to do with that. Obviously the Nexus S has quirks of its own, but the majority of the issues HTC owners have, have more to do with the skin that is put on these phones. I could be wrong of course, but thats how I feel and I won't accept another skinned device.
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  4. #4  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android???

    Quote Originally Posted by yankdez View Post
    I'm contemplating VZW's GS2 vs the Prime. Can someone tell me why they prefer vanilla over skinned, besides faster software updates? For me, I think skins somewhat improve functionality of the phone (e.g. app folders, email clients, music players, camera options, etc.). Not tryin to start a war; just wondering why I feel like I'm in the wrong for not salivating over a nexus device.
    Really it's all just personal preference. Most like HTC Sense (including the Espresso UI) or Vanilla. Recently, more people have grown somewhat fond of the new Touchwiz (including myself) due to the huge overhaul they have done to it. And then there are some people who like Moto's skin, LG's, and SE's (can't think of the name right now).
  5. #5  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    I enjoy Vanilla because it's what Google intended for the phone. Its simple and sophisticated. Skins could be beneficial for the user if you use their specific items like HTC Sense widgets and things of the such. Vanilla is just so nice,clean, and wonderful that I don't ever want to go back to anything else.
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  6. #6  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    I appreciate everyone giving their opinions as well. Im moving into my first legit smartphone soon, and the Nexus Prime is at the top of the list. Reading opinions like this make the wait go down easier.

    Thanks!
  7. #7  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    I am a pure Google kind of guy. I am a long time owner of the Nexus One, still own it, never give it up.I also have just about every HTC made device including the Samsung Nexus S. I have the new Sensation and looking for a pure google rom to download. After all that I also have the HTC Thunderbolt, just had to have the LTE speed, which is lit up and full speed in my area, suburb of Boston. I am a complete cell phone junkie.
  8. #8  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    Based on what i always hear on the threads I tried AOSP or vanilla Android ROMS. After i installed ADW, beautiful Widgets, k-9 Mail, Handsent SMS, and Dolphin Browser I started to question the value of the Custom OS's that OEMs employ like Sense.

    IMHO you can say that Sense or the others slow things down, but at least all the customization are from the same set of developers. Under ASOP i was downloading 10 apps from 10 different devs and there was no continuity. It was really not good. I can see a problem with the OEM software in v 2, but with Sense 3, the latest versions of Blur and Touch Wiz 4 or UX i think they have come a long way. The reviews on these overlays seem to have change opinions lately as well. Just look at what people have said about Touch Wiz UX.

    I learned that my personal preference if for a Sense 3.0 ROM. I tried vanilla a few times and never made it more that 24 hours. Sure running 2.3.5 was nice but I saw more improved functionality on 2.3.4 with Sense 3 than the dif between 2.3.4 and 2.3.5.

    I honestly think that if every device shipped with plain Android, it would never get the adoption that it has.
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  9. #9  

    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    It really depends on what you want out of your phone. If you're in to modding your phone-rooting, romming, etc-then a Nexus device will be good for that. However, if you're looking at the GS2, it won't be very long before you are able to do those things as well, which negates that advantage. Yes, the Nexus device gets updates first, but updates for rooted devices usually come pretty quickly from the development community.
    As far as a "vanilla android experience" that is incredibly overrated. People will talk about how they love it, but if you follow it, you'll see that the reason that people love it is because of how easy it is to add whatever skins they want to it, thus making it no longer a vanilla android.
    And as much as people say they love the Nexus and are excited about a nexus device, the previous nexus devices have been very poor sellers. Meaning people talk about them but don't buy them that often. Yes, there are a few that want their phone as vanilla as possible, but most just like how they can change it.
    To be honest, the only people that really benefit from a pure android device are the developers themselves. They are the ones who have to make their skins work and it is easier for them if they start with a vanilla device.
    My advice-check out the GS2. If you like it, and think it is worth it, then get it. Don't worry about what device will be out soon. I can guarantee that any customizing you will want to(including changing/removing the skin if you don't like it) will be just as easy for you on the GS2 as it will be on the Nexus. Either way you will likely have to wait for the developers to get you the tools you need, but it will happen.
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  10. #10  

    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    I've used Motoblur on the Droid X, I've used custom AOSP roms on the Droid X.
    I've used Sense on the Thunderbolt, I've used custom AOSP roms on the Thunderbolt.

    I think I can comfortably say, based on my experience, that custom UI and UX added by the manufactures slow the phone down. The Nexus S is faster than any Android phone I have owned or used. That will of course change over time but I think it proves that if speed, stability and responsiveness are important to you then the Nexus line is the best option.

    I do agree though that in an effort to add some of the features provided by many of the manufacture's tweaks, you can end up with a very fragmented Android experience. To some, that may be a downside but to me, I prefer to only add in the features I wish to use through 3rd party apps.
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  11. #11  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    I think it's all personal preference. Some prefer a pure android experience whereas others prefer an OEM UI. Choose whichever makes the best sense for you. The beauty of Android is the level of customization readily available.
  12. #12  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    I've had a Nexus S and it was a great phone, but stock is well kinda boring. It was always nice to get software upgrades, but now with my inspire it's more fun in a way. Sense does a lot to android. I'm not gonna lie and say I would always buy a sense phone to stock, cause I still want a stock phone. But I am really happy with my Inspire and sense.
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  13. #13  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    My take on it. AOSP / Vanilla Android is easy and doesn't have anything stupid running around behind everything. I don't skin anything but I rarely use Stock apps beyond messaging. I absolutely hate most of Blur but the camera add-ons are great(compared to stock). On my X I run Liberty Gingerbread and I haven't found a better ROM yet. IMHO All the non-tweaked manufacturer UI's add too much bloat and just the fact that half of it can't be removed just adds credence to the argument for stock android.
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  14. #14  

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jalarm View Post
    stock is well kinda boring.
    That's kinda my sentiment. I like and certainly don't mind stock, but one of the first things I did was grab go launcher and the various go widgets mainly because stock looks pretty plain as is.

    I helped a relative set up their thunderbolt to use htc's friendstream app for Facebook and was impressed at how thoroughly it replicated the Facebook app experience in a much nicer looking and more integrated user interface.

    IMO I'd rather have a more integrated experience with fewer apps to download with widgets that can clash visually.(Facebook is a prime example)

    Its more than just appearance though. I like the toggle switches that touchwiz introduced in the notification shade, ditto the customizable touchwiz dock.
  15. Thread Author  Thread Author    #15  

    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    wow so many thoughtful responses. im lovin it all. in my case, i just dont think i have the time to keep up with the latest rom forums, especially at the speed devs are coming out with new stuff. havent made a decision yet, but the gs2 looks more favorable to me as i'd like an unfragmented phone wrt widgets and such. the drop in speed it'll cost me surely wont be THAT great, as its a dual core phone. and if i ever wanted to dabble in rooting and romming, i feel satisfied that samsung's embraced the modding community with unlocked bootloaders and providing phones to xda devs. right now, the only thing keeping me from being totally sold on the gs2 is ICS on the prime. looking forward to how a buttonless display will pan out in addition to the rest of the software changes. there are so many question marks about ICS that i think im gonna wait for both phones to come out first. decisions, decisions.....
  16. #16  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    Biggest reasons to go vanilla is that you, and only you, control what is running on your device and when you want it to run.

    Any ROM can be skinned, but you can't take out overlay bloat without root. I run an Evo with Deck's ROM and I have coworkers with Droid X's and a stock Sense Evo. All of them are shocked when they see my running services page and want to know how they can get theirs to work like that and get my battery life.
  17. #17  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    I also think its a manner of a personal preferences , some people prefer Vanilla\Stock over Manufacturers UI
    Personally , I find the vanilla is very boring (yes you can customize it as you want , but still , plus I hate it) & I prefer Custom UI instead (Motorola's new UI or Sense)

    Some People prefer vanilla because its lighter on the device & doesn't run every single app in the background (this is not the case with me) , unlike Motoblur & Sense phones

    But Manufacturers UIs also have their advantages over the vanilla , especially in the Media section (better Camera app , HD recording , Better Music player ..etc)


    Here is the catch though , having a Vanilla UI outta the box doesn't guarantee that you will have the latest updates faster , I'll give you some examples :


    1 - Im speaking of a personal experience here :
    I've an OG Motorola MILESTONE (the GSM variant of the OG DROID) , the MILESTONE was the first ever to receive Eclair 2.1 (the phone actually came with 2.0) , even before the OG DROID (& probably the Nexus One) , but I got the Fro-Yo 2.2.1 update about 4 months ago (as soon as it was released for IEME area)

    2 - The British Nexus One received the Official GingerBread about month & a Half ago , after the DROID X & Desire HD got it

    3 - the LG G2X (vanilla Froyo 2.2.1) was released about the same time as the ATRIX 4G (MotoBlur on top of Froyo 2.2.1) , but the ATRIX got GingerBread 2.3.4 first (The Atrix 4G is the first Non-Nexus device to get 2.3.4)


    As you can see , it depends on the Manufacturer & the Carrier to release the update & when it comes to Europe & the Rest of the world , is a whole anther miss Since Manufacturers have to get Carriers approval & the "Communications ministry"'s approval in every single country , then carriers start testing it for couple of months , trust me been there before


    After all , you will pick whatever you like the most depending on the Spec.s that suits your needs & desires
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android???

    Quote Originally Posted by navarro77 View Post
    This is my own personal opinion of course, but my EVO hasn't been quite right since the Gingerbread update, and I feel that Sense has EVERYTHING to do with that. Obviously the Nexus S has quirks of its own, but the majority of the issues HTC owners have, have more to do with the skin that is put on these phones. I could be wrong of course, but thats how I feel and I won't accept another skinned device.
    This
  19. #19  

    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    Quote Originally Posted by yankdez View Post
    wow so many thoughtful responses. im lovin it all. in my case, i just dont think i have the time to keep up with the latest rom forums, especially at the speed devs are coming out with new stuff. havent made a decision yet, but the gs2 looks more favorable to me as i'd like an unfragmented phone wrt widgets and such. the drop in speed it'll cost me surely wont be THAT great, as its a dual core phone. and if i ever wanted to dabble in rooting and romming, i feel satisfied that samsung's embraced the modding community with unlocked bootloaders and providing phones to xda devs. right now, the only thing keeping me from being totally sold on the gs2 is ICS on the prime. looking forward to how a buttonless display will pan out in addition to the rest of the software changes. there are so many question marks about ICS that i think im gonna wait for both phones to come out first. decisions, decisions.....
    If ICS is important to you and you wont be rooting and romming, you might want to look more at the Nexus. It would be a huge surprise if the GS2 gets ICS before next summer. Samsung is notoriously terrible with updating their phones in the U.S. The developers will get it up and running with their ROMs, but if that's something you don't have time to do, you likely won't get ICS on the GS2 any time soon.
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  20. #20  

    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    Here's my take after having used GS2 for a month.

    Touchwiz isn't intrusive, not in the slightest. In fact the following points got me attached to it:

    1. GPU accelerated browser
    2. Built-in screen-taking capabilities (Home+Power button)
    3. T9 dialing
    4. Notification bar controls
    5. Improvements to the join contacts options.

    I was skeptical of custom skins before I experienced Touchwiz 4.0. But after having used it, it doesn't seem to slow the phone down (probably because Samsung implemented GPU acceleration in homescreen too), I can even run LWP while playing music without noticing a stutter while scrolling through screens.

    Then again, it comes out to how much bloatware VZW's GS2 will launch with, and how much of an improvement ICS will bring to Android. The lack of GPU acceleration really hurts our phones though. iDevices have had buttery smooth experience for like ever, something our better-specced phones have problem achieving, simply because they come with GPU acceleration. If ICS doesn't address this issue (yes it's an issue, not a lack of feature), the answer would be obvious, the GS2.
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    Quote Originally Posted by ryandi View Post
    Here's my take after having used GS2 for a month.

    Touchwiz isn't intrusive, not in the slightest. In fact the following points got me attached to it:

    1. GPU accelerated browser
    2. Built-in screen-taking capabilities (Home+Power button)
    3. T9 dialing
    4. Notification bar controls
    5. Improvements to the join contacts options.

    I was skeptical of custom skins before I experienced Touchwiz 4.0. But after having used it, it doesn't seem to slow the phone down (probably because Samsung implemented GPU acceleration in homescreen too), I can even run LWP while playing music without noticing a stutter while scrolling through screens.

    Then again, it comes out to how much bloatware VZW's GS2 will launch with, and how much of an improvement ICS will bring to Android. The lack of GPU acceleration really hurts our phones though. iDevices have had buttery smooth experience for like ever, something our better-specced phones have problem achieving, simply because they come with GPU acceleration. If ICS doesn't address this issue (yes it's an issue, not a lack of feature), the answer would be obvious, the GS2.
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  22. #22  
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    I'm not sure I buy the "I prefer the true Android experience the way Google intended it" argument. The reality is that Google fully intended the manufacturers to differentiate their devices through the use of custom UI's, so the argument doesn't seem to make much sense right from the start. Also, so many people start with vanilla Android and then add Launcher Pro, ADW or any number of other launchers, which themselves are more or less skins just like Sense, Blur, et al. The stock vanilla launcher is honestly pretty dull. It's fine for a strictly minimalist mindset, which I can appreciate on some level, but why buy a high-performance device to run such a featureless interface?

    But as many already said, it all comes down to personal preference. Manufacturer skins and bloat can certainly be a drain on performance, some being worse than others. In the end, I think the attraction of vanilla Android is mainly to have a clean base on which to configure the device to one's own liking. For example, if you prefer Launcher Pro as your launcher, you wouldn't want to start with all the overhead of Sense or Blur or ToughWiz that would need to be removed or disabled.

    Personally, I'm starting to really like MIUI not because of it's unquestionable resemblance to iOS (I've actually configured it as much as possible to look more like stock Android), but because of it's many subtle features designed to extend, simplify or improve the user experience. So many little things that I previously used 3rd party apps for are cleanly built right into the system.

    Whatever you decide to go with, seriously consider the importance of an unlocked bootloader (which you did mention). That'll give you the ability to try out different roms with different skins and really decide what best suits your needs.
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  23. #23  

    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    One of the most informative, useful, and well-reasoned threads on this board. So much of it was grammatical, too, and with adult spelling! Refreshing and reassuring. I learned a great deal. Thanks to all who contributed.
  24. #24  

    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    Yankdez, I have yet to have 5 posts and I wasn't able to reply to your PM, so I'll paste it here.

    When I first opened up an image-heavy site (Engadget's desktop version to be exact) on my GS2, I immediately noticed two things. It does not have any frame spikes, even when scrolling fairly quickly, and I see checkerboards (if you have tried browsing on iDevices, you should know what I'm talking about). I then tried to see if I can replicate the same smoothness on another browser, so I downloaded Opera, Opera Mini, Xscope, Dolphin HD, and Skyfire. To my surprise, they can't run as smooth as Samsung's proprietary browser.

    Having said that, this article talks about why the GS2 has such a pleasant browsing experience:
    link removed by moderator

    It says there "the browser is not remarkably different from what you will have seen before, save for one important thing: the Galaxy S II's browser is hardware-accelerated".

    And this discussion talks about the lack of GPU acceleration:
    Issue 6914 - android - Make android use the GPU (if available) for UI and browsing. - Android - An Open Handset Alliance Project - Google Project Hosting

    I hope this answers your questions.
    Last edited by Kevin O'Quinn; 08-22-2011 at 11:56 PM. Reason: unapproved link
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    Default Re: Why Vanilla Android?

    The manufacturer skins can sometimes alter the underlying Android functionality. I've replaced Sense with Regina 3D on my unrooted Incredible and some of the features of Regina don't work correctly (Calendar syncing) because Sense changed how the calendar behaves and isn't what Regina is expecting from standard Android. I can't change this unless I want to root, load a ROM, and in the process void my extended warranty. It would be better if Sense was another launcher app that I could choose to load or not without altering the underlying functions that prevent other launchers from working properly.
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