1. Dan Oldham's Avatar
    First, don't shove me under the bus, as I'm new to this whole Android thing. I'm not exactly "techy" when it comes to stuff, so I just wanna understand what people are talking about when they're talking about it. I have a few questions.

    What differentiates one operating system from another as far as software? Isn't iPhone a Mac software, Android an Android software, and Windows a Windows software? I get the idea that hardware is the processor and such, but as far as software, what's the difference? My wife has a Galaxy S4 and I have an LG G2. They're both very similar in terms of navigation. While I like some of the "design" aspects of the G2 to the S4, I don't see where it's all that different in terms of anything but a few customization features.

    So, when someone talks about how one software is better than another, how is that, especially if they're all running on a version 4.2, for example?
    11-19-2013 04:37 PM
  2. rgriffin25's Avatar
    I think it boils down to preference and expectations. Not all devices run the same version of 4.2. Each manufacturer adds their own twist or what we call skins. So while at the core it is Android 4.2 there are changes each manufacturer makes to make it their own. Samsung has Touchwiz, HTC has Sense, and Nexus has vanilla or plain Android. So while they all are running 4.2 technically it's not the same.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk
    11-19-2013 05:03 PM
  3. Dan Oldham's Avatar
    I think it boils down to preference and expectations. Not all devices run the same version of 4.2. Each manufacturer adds their own twist or what we call skins. So while at the core it is Android 4.2 there are changes each manufacturer makes to make it their own. Samsung has Touchwiz, HTC has Sense, and Nexus has vanilla or plain Android. So while they all are running 4.2 technically it's not the same.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk
    Thank you for explaining this, it kinda clears things up a bit for me.
    11-19-2013 05:56 PM
  4. JeffDenver's Avatar
    First, don't shove me under the bus, as I'm new to this whole Android thing. I'm not exactly "techy" when it comes to stuff, so I just wanna understand what people are talking about when they're talking about it. I have a few questions.

    What differentiates one operating system from another as far as software? Isn't iPhone a Mac software, Android an Android software, and Windows a Windows software? I get the idea that hardware is the processor and such, but as far as software, what's the difference? My wife has a Galaxy S4 and I have an LG G2. They're both very similar in terms of navigation.
    They both use the same operating system. The reason they look differnt is that they have modifications to the UI (User Interface). But they are basically the same OS.

    A PC and Mac are completely different OS's by contrast.

    While I like some of the "design" aspects of the G2 to the S4, I don't see where it's all that different in terms of anything but a few customization features.
    The main differences are in the hardware. But yeah, they are not all that different. Some people have a preference for one UI over another. HTCs skin is called "Sense" and I personally hated it. Generally you cannot change the UI on a given phone. At least not completely.

    So, when someone talks about how one software is better than another, how is that, especially if they're all running on a version 4.2, for example?
    The software version dictates what features are available. The vendor can customize these features to some degree, or not support them at all. But it has to come in the basic Android OS first.

    And example is the JIT compiler...this provided a dramatic speed increase for Android. But you could only see the speed increase on your phone if you have that version of Android (I think it was 2.2?). There was no way for vendors to add this functionality unless they upgraded the OS.
    11-19-2013 08:22 PM
  5. Dan Oldham's Avatar
    They both use the same operating system. The reason they look differnt is that they have modifications to the UI (User Interface). But they are basically the same OS.

    A PC and Mac are completely different OS's by contrast.
    Gotcha on that.

    The main differences are in the hardware. But yeah, they are not all that different. Some people have a preference for one UI over another. HTCs skin is called "Sense" and I personally hated it. Generally you cannot change the UI on a given phone. At least not completely.
    So the skin is basically the layout? There are basically a few differences I like in the appearance of the G2 to the S4. I find the "navigation" to be more pleasing to the eye,

    The software version dictates what features are available. The vendor can customize these features to some degree, or not support them at all. But it has to come in the basic Android OS first.
    So the hardware dictates the appearance but software dictates the apps, correct?

    And example is the JIT compiler...this provided a dramatic speed increase for Android. But you could only see the speed increase on your phone if you have that version of Android (I think it was 2.2?). There was no way for vendors to add this functionality unless they upgraded the OS.
    Can the android OS be upgraded remotely like iOS?
    11-19-2013 08:55 PM
  6. JeffDenver's Avatar
    So the skin is basically the layout? There are basically a few differences I like in the appearance of the G2 to the S4. I find the "navigation" to be more pleasing to the eye
    Not just the layout, but the graphics for the buttons, the transitions, ect.

    You can change this to some extent by installing a Launcher. Launchers change the way the front end and the app drawer works. But they will not affect things like the dialer, or system screens, or lock screens. Skins also sometimes include under to hood enhancements to the OS as well.

    The main complaint people have about skins is that, with very few exceptions, you cannot remove them. You can install a launcher on TOP of it. But the underlying stuff (the under the hood enhancements) will continue to run in the background and eat resources, even though you are not using them. A launcher will also not completely replace them anyway. The vendors have to do it this way (supposedly) for optimization reasons.

    So the hardware dictates the appearance but software dictates the apps, correct?
    The software provides a set of features that the vendor may or may not incorporate into their skin. The different vendors can use their own hardware, in the same way that you can use any video card or monitor with your PC. The OS might place limits on how far they can go.

    Can the android OS be upgraded remotely like iOS?
    Yes. These are called OTA (Over The Air) updates. They are pushed by your carrier usually. You can also download them and do a manual install if you don't want to wait for the carrier. The Vendor is the one who makes the installers though. Google sends them the OS update, they incorporate their skin into it, then they give it to the carriers who push it to your phone.

    The only phones directly supported by Google are Nexus devices.
    11-19-2013 10:13 PM
  7. Dan Oldham's Avatar
    Not just the layout, but the graphics for the buttons, the transitions, ect.

    You can change this to some extent by installing a Launcher. Launchers change the way the front end and the app drawer works. But they will not affect things like the dialer, or system screens, or lock screens. Skins also sometimes include under to hood enhancements to the OS as well.

    The main complaint people have about skins is that, with very few exceptions, you cannot remove them. You can install a launcher on TOP of it. But the underlying stuff (the under the hood enhancements) will continue to run in the background and eat resources, even though you are not using them. A launcher will also not completely replace them anyway. The vendors have to do it this way (supposedly) for optimization reasons.


    The software provides a set of features that the vendor may or may not incorporate into their skin. The different vendors can use their own hardware, in the same way that you can use any video card or monitor with your PC. The OS might place limits on how far they can go.


    Yes. These are called OTA (Over The Air) updates. They are pushed by your carrier usually. You can also download them and do a manual install if you don't want to wait for the carrier. The Vendor is the one who makes the installers though. Google sends them the OS update, they incorporate their skin into it, then they give it to the carriers who push it to your phone.

    The only phones directly supported by Google are Nexus devices.
    Thanks for the explanation, this really cleared up a lot of my questions!
    11-20-2013 04:42 AM
  8. JRDroid's Avatar
    Gotcha on that.



    So the skin is basically the layout? There are basically a few differences I like in the appearance of the G2 to the S4. I find the "navigation" to be more pleasing to the eye,
    The skin is in part the layout, but it can go much deeper (particularly in LG and Samsung's case). Generally speaking, the deeper a "skin" on a phone is intergrated into system level functions, the longer it will take you to get updates for your phone, because it will take the manufacturer longer to get their skin on the new version of Android. This is why the Moto X (which has a very, very light skin) is already getting 4.4 (which was announced like 3 weeks ago), HTC is promising 4.4 for the developer edition of the phone by the end of November (a month after 4.4 was announced) and Samsung devices are just now getting 4.3 (which was announced in July). Voice search, for example, is handled by Google Now by default on Motorola and HTC devices. Samsung uses it's own S-Voice as the default. Samsung's notification shade is much further from the standard Android shade than HTC's and Motorola uses the standard shade. The more and the deeper these sort of changes go, the longer your update will take, if you get it at all.


    So the hardware dictates the appearance but software dictates the apps, correct?
    The software dictates how everything on your screen looks, the hardware is the physical phone. Due to you and your wife both having powerful phones running modern (4.0+) versions of Android, the only limitation on apps you are likely to run into is actually a hardware limitation. There are a few apps that haven't added support for 190x1080 or higher resolutions yet (both of your phones are 1080). These are becoming increasingly rare, but every once in a while you will run across an app that is 720p and lower resolution only.

    Can the android OS be upgraded remotely like iOS?
    Yes, Android can be updated Over the Air. Android has had this feature since 2008 or 2009, several years before the iPhone got it. The iPhone used to require you to plug into a computer and use iTunes to update the OS, but Android has never had that limitation.
    11-20-2013 08:38 AM
  9. Dan Oldham's Avatar
    The skin is in part the layout, but it can go much deeper (particularly in LG and Samsung's case). Generally speaking, the deeper a "skin" on a phone is intergrated into system level functions, the longer it will take you to get updates for your phone, because it will take the manufacturer longer to get their skin on the new version of Android. This is why the Moto X (which has a very, very light skin) is already getting 4.4 (which was announced like 3 weeks ago), HTC is promising 4.4 for the developer edition of the phone by the end of November (a month after 4.4 was announced) and Samsung devices are just now getting 4.3 (which was announced in July). Voice search, for example, is handled by Google Now by default on Motorola and HTC devices. Samsung uses it's own S-Voice as the default. Samsung's notification shade is much further from the standard Android shade than HTC's and Motorola uses the standard shade. The more and the deeper these sort of changes go, the longer your update will take, if you get it at all.



    The software dictates how everything on your screen looks, the hardware is the physical phone. Due to you and your wife both having powerful phones running modern (4.0+) versions of Android, the only limitation on apps you are likely to run into is actually a hardware limitation. There are a few apps that haven't added support for 190x1080 or higher resolutions yet (both of your phones are 1080). These are becoming increasingly rare, but every once in a while you will run across an app that is 720p and lower resolution only.



    Yes, Android can be updated Over the Air. Android has had this feature since 2008 or 2009, several years before the iPhone got it. The iPhone used to require you to plug into a computer and use iTunes to update the OS, but Android has never had that limitation.
    My wife works with a guy who has an S4 and he did a custom OS for his phone. How would these standard features work if a factory OS is no longer installed on the phone?

    You mentioned the Moto X had a "light" skin. What do you mean by a "light" skin?
    11-20-2013 08:49 PM
  10. mayconvert's Avatar
    My wife works with a guy who has an S4 and he did a custom OS for his phone. How would these standard features work if a factory OS is no longer installed on the phone?
    He either "rooted" the phone, which can be done to nearly any phone and installed a "modified" OS on the phone. its still android, but it's kind of like getting a illegal copy of windows with a keycode hack mixed in with the install CD. Others can probably word that better. Things "can" go wrong rooting and brick your phone, proceed with caution if you try rooting. Some features can't, or no longer work sometimes after installing a custom OS. Example. Samsung baked in some cool software for the Note 3 S-pen. If I were to "root" and install 4.4 somehow, the S-pen features may not work at all anymore.

    Light skin:

    "light" just refers to HOW much of a skin has been added on top of base android.
    Samsung touchwiz changes the icons, the contacts interface, and many other things as well as adding a LOT of samsung specific software add ons.
    The G2 has a slightly "lighter" skin than the S4. The moto X is 99% raw android but still have some non standard features like active notifications, hands free (always listening) etc.

    Can the android OS be upgraded remotely like iOS?
    Yes, android phone may have had the "ability" to do so before iPhone, but android phones take FOREVER sometimes to get a single update. You should consider yourself lucky to get one update from 4.2.2 to 4.3
    The LG G2 will probably never see Any update. LG doesn't sell enough phones to be important enough for carriers to bother with them.
    The S4 you have came with 4.2 on it and I think 4.3 is out for it. 4.4 "might" come to your S4 (without having to root install it) but it will likely be months from now. Unlike the iPhone and iOS that can download the OS the day of release.
    To see phones like the Moto X getting updates like 4.4 as fast is almost unheard of.
    But, remember, the moto x is also nearly 100% pure android with no skin. so those updates are faster and easier to push for the carriers.

    Unlike apple, android vendors like samsung, htc etc. must first decide they even want to bother with an update, then they have to submit it to the carrier and the carrier then checks for problems. If non are found, then the carrier gets to decide when they "push" the update to the phone. Apple doesn't have to deal with carriers, they use their Own servers for updates. and you still have the option of using iTunes as well.
    11-20-2013 09:21 PM
  11. Dan Oldham's Avatar
    He either "rooted" the phone, which can be done to nearly any phone and installed a "modified" OS on the phone. its still android, but it's kind of like getting a illegal copy of windows with a keycode hack mixed in with the install CD. Others can probably word that better. Things "can" go wrong rooting and brick your phone, proceed with caution if you try rooting. Some features can't, or no longer work sometimes after installing a custom OS. Example. Samsung baked in some cool software for the Note 3 S-pen. If I were to "root" and install 4.4 somehow, the S-pen features may not work at all anymore.

    Light skin:

    "light" just refers to HOW much of a skin has been added on top of base android.
    Samsung touchwiz changes the icons, the contacts interface, and many other things as well as adding a LOT of samsung specific software add ons.
    The G2 has a slightly "lighter" skin than the S4. The moto X is 99% raw android but still have some non standard features like active notifications, hands free (always listening) etc.



    Yes, android phone may have had the "ability" to do so before iPhone, but android phones take FOREVER sometimes to get a single update. You should consider yourself lucky to get one update from 4.2.2 to 4.3
    The LG G2 will probably never see Any update. LG doesn't sell enough phones to be important enough for carriers to bother with them.
    The S4 you have came with 4.2 on it and I think 4.3 is out for it. 4.4 "might" come to your S4 (without having to root install it) but it will likely be months from now. Unlike the iPhone and iOS that can download the OS the day of release.
    To see phones like the Moto X getting updates like 4.4 as fast is almost unheard of.
    But, remember, the moto x is also nearly 100% pure android with no skin. so those updates are faster and easier to push for the carriers.

    Unlike apple, android vendors like samsung, htc etc. must first decide they even want to bother with an update, then they have to submit it to the carrier and the carrier then checks for problems. If non are found, then the carrier gets to decide when they "push" the update to the phone. Apple doesn't have to deal with carriers, they use their Own servers for updates. and you still have the option of using iTunes as well.
    Okay, so basically what you're saying is that the Moto X hasn't been crammed with additional garbage from separate companies?

    I'll have to get the story on what this guy who my wife works with did to this phone of his, From what I understood, he developed bis own OS for it. I'll need to get the real story.
    11-20-2013 10:41 PM
  12. JRDroid's Avatar
    My wife works with a guy who has an S4 and he did a custom OS for his phone. How would these standard features work if a factory OS is no longer installed on the phone?

    You mentioned the Moto X had a "light" skin. What do you mean by a "light" skin?
    Motorola has made very minimal modifications to the core Android code. Additionally, many of their modifications function more as apps than as system level changes. You are getting something much closer to "pure" Android than you are with say, a Galaxy S4, which is sort of the poster child for a heavily skinned phone. If Android were a cake, Motorola's version would be the cake your grandma baked for your birthday, with a simple layer of frosting and a few decorations. It was simple, but it was good and you loved it. Samsung's TouchWiz would be like the cakes you see on a show like Cake Boss. They are visually stunning and take a long time to complete. But in the end, no cake ever beats the cake your grandma makes for you, no matter how fancy it looks.
    11-20-2013 10:51 PM
  13. JRDroid's Avatar
    Okay, so basically what you're saying is that the Moto X hasn't been crammed with additional garbage from separate companies?

    I'll have to get the story on what this guy who my wife works with did to this phone of his, From what I understood, he developed bis own OS for it. I'll need to get the real story.
    What he did is called ROMming. It is where you flash a custom build of Android that you choose onto your phone to replace the version of Android that came on your phone. Some phones (like the Galaxy S4) have a HUGE selection of ROMs to choose from. Other phones (like a Pantech Burst) have almost none. It is possible to compile your own version of Android (and your wife's co-worker may have), but it is much more common to use a version that someone (or a team of someones) has built and upload to the internet for you to use. A popular ROM is Cyanogenmod. It is available for a wide selection of phones and is fairly close to "pure" Android. It is very, very popular with people who like the hardware of a heavily skinned phone like an S4, G2, or even an HTC One but also like Pure Android better than manufacturer skins.
    11-20-2013 10:55 PM

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