Counterpoint: stock Android with custom apps may not be the salvation that some think [Poll]

July 15, 2013
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    OEMs
    Notice: Before you read the article, we would very much appreciate it if you took a moment to scroll down to the poll and vote. Of course, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but in a world where bloggers continuously try to tell the world what you, the people want, this is a really good chance to have your voices heard. We’re not going to tell OEMs what you want and we are not so bold as to superimpose our opinions as facts regarding your preferences. Only you can do that.

    Yesterday, there was an article posted on Cult of Android by Mike Elgan. The gist of this post was very simple. Mike was, in one article, going to explain what was wrong with the entire smartphone industry and tell OEMs how to make better handsets. Yes, Mike Elgan, tech journalist, was going to tell OEMs a thing or two about the smartphone market. He was going to tell OEMs, who have millions of dollars invested in marketing and consumer research, something they did not know. This was going to be good.

    I read through the article and it started out innocently enough. There will be several hundred million people buying smartphones this year. The industry as a whole will make billions. Stuff just about all of us knew already. Then he decided to get into the meat and potatoes of the post. He essentially called all smartphone makers failures. Even Samsung, who’s Galaxy S line up is an annual success. He doesn’t just talk about Android either. He calls Apple, Microsoft, and Blackberry failures too. Apparently, despite the fact that the market is growing by leaps and bounds every year, everyone is somehow failing.

    Then he gets into why all these people are failing. Without taking up too much of your time, we’ll paraphrase.

    1. It’s not a Nexus device.
    2. It’s not a Nexus device.
    3. Nexus devices don’t have awesome camera apps like Touchwiz and Sense 5.

    And now, here was his winning strategy.

    1. Build more Nexus devices or give phones the ability to transform into a Nexus with a magic Nexus switch. Mike claims no OEM has ever released a high end smartphone with great specs and a Nexus experience. Apparently, the Nexus 4 by LG didn’t fit that criteria. We don’t know why.

    Now, there are a few things to point out. He doesn’t necessarily state that OEM skins like Touchwiz or Sense are bad. He simply states that it should be mandatory that they have an off switch where you can revert to stock Android. Something similar to what MoDaCo is doing right now with the HTC One. On the face this seems perfectly reasonable but, with all the modifications made to Android for Touchwiz and Sense, this would require two operating systems to be installed.

    The article had what appeared to have a stellar reception. Even Google’s Vic Gundotra shared it on his Google+ page. For a short time anyway. At the time of this writing, we couldn’t find it so we don’t know what happened there.

    In any case, we’d like to respond to Mike’s strongly worded ideas. What follows is not our opinions on what OEMs can improve. Instead, we’ve listened to what our readers and viewers have asked us over the years and we’ll be mentioning all the things they ask us about on a daily basis. To top it off, we’ve posted a poll below so our readers and viewers can once again make their voices heard. After all, it’s YOUR opinion that really matters.

    Dear OEMs, please use better batteries

    The number one thing we hear about is battery life. People are always asking us about battery life. They want to know if the battery will last all day with moderate to heavy use. People often complain about battery life too. They tell us that they have to buy car chargers, chargers for work, and extended batteries because the stock battery is so bad. This is one of the few complaints we hear across every single OEM no matter what OS it runs. Putting in a switch to stock Android won’t fix this problem.

    If we were to be so bold as to recommend a course of action based on the concerns of our readers, the first one would be to look into making the phone last longer on a single charge. There is a reason why people like the Droid RAZR MAXX and Droid RAZR MAXX HD over their non-MAXX brethren. Same specs but a bigger battery.

    Dear OEMs, please give us more awesome cameras

    People love their smartphone cameras to be awesome. When HTC delivered the ultra-pixel with the HTC One, no one was saying how cool that was. All they were asking was if it could outperform, you guessed it, the competition. Most people don’t even know what an ultra-pixel is, but I guarantee most who care have watched every comparison video and read every comparison article on the internet. That’s why those comparisons exist in such large numbers. It is because so many people care.

    So what do people want? Better image quality, better low light performance, and more features. Does it matter to people if it’s ultra-pixel or megapixel? Do people really care if they’re taking photos through stock Android or HTC Sense 5? The answer to that question is no. What OS you’re running doesn’t improve image quality. Better camera hardware from OEMs will.

    Dear OEMs, please get rid of all lag now and forever

    Okay sometimes requests may be unreasonable. It’s not possible to reduce lag to zero and keep it there forever. However, this is something we hear a lot about. They ask us if a phone lags in any noticeable areas. They want to know the benchmark scores, even if they aren’t really a testament to how a device acts in day-to-day activities. What they do not want is scrolling lag or gaming lag. They want to swipe home screens in buttery smooth bliss and not have a two second lag when they turn the screen on.

    Processors are more powerful than ever and software is being more optimized by both Google and OEMs all the time. What I can tell you is that I’ve tested hundreds of apps on my Nexus 4 and believe me, vanilla Android still lags just like Touchwiz and Sense 5. Now before people start throwing rocks at me, this is not a rip on vanilla Android, Touchwiz, or HTC Sense. It is an observation. None of them are 100% lag free and none of them ever will be. This is not a problem that can be fixed by removing OEM skins.

    Dear OEMs, please make yourselves more available to us

    A very common complaint among our readership is a device not showing up somewhere. Ask Verizon fans how they feel about the HTC One taking its sweet time making it to Verizon. Ask Verizon fans how they feel about the Note 2 taking its sweet time making to Verizon. Really, just ask any Verizon customer. You can count the number of Sony devices available in the US market currently on one hand. Some OEMs have improved on this dramatically over the last couple of years, but some OEMs really haven’t.

    As a special note, carrier availability isn’t the only problem. I can buy a Nexus 7 at a Staples, a Best Buy, or any number of other brick and mortar stores. While people turn to the web to buy just about everything, there is still a certain stigma about trying a phone before you buy it to make sure it feels right. When one of our readers asks what the best device is for them, our other readers will almost always reply that they should go to a store and try them out. We can’t do that with a Nexus 4. Besides, installing a stock Android switch won’t suddenly make a phone available where it isn’t already available. If anything, it’ll take even longer to get these devices to people.

    For a moment, let’s talk about update availability. OEMs are already under fire constantly for not promptly updating their devices. Do you honestly think that’ll get any better when you introduce a second operating system? Instead of dealing with just their version of Android, they now have to update the stock Android and their OEM skin. Then they have to get carrier approval for both. People think updates take forever now, just wait until the phone needs to be updated twice!

    So what do we think of this “All Nexus” dream society?

    There is a reason why Android reigns supreme over every other mobile operating system. It’s not the apps, it’s not the Google integration, and most of the time it isn’t even phone specs. It’s the options. Plain and simple, people buy Android because when they buy Android, they have more than one style of Android to choose from. Adding a switch doesn’t change this. People buy Galaxy S4 devices because they like the Galaxy S4. If you want a pure Android Galaxy S4, those are available as well.

    What matters is you, the reader. OEMs aren’t designing phones thinking, “Gee whiz, I hope this phone doesn’t invoke the angry words of Mike Elgan” or “I hope Joe Hindy has nice things to say about us.” They are designing phones thinking, “Is this what our customers want? What can we offer them that other OEMs cannot?” They’re not perfect, those OEMs, but believe it or not, they are competing for your attention. Not Mike Elgan’s attention. Not my attention. Your attention.

    You know what? They aren’t doing half bad. The Galaxy S3 was the highest selling Android phone of 2012. The Galaxy S4 is rocking 2013 so far. The HTC EVO 4G, despite being available only on Sprint, controlled much of 2011. Do you know what these phones have in common? Not one of them were Nexus devices. So to say that Nexus is what’s best for consumers is axiomatically wrong.

    When the estimated hundreds of millions of people go walking into their local mobile phone shop this year, they won’t be asking for something super nerdy like, “does this phone have an OEM-off switch?” They’ll be asking real world questions that normal people ask. Like if the phone will make it all day on a single charge. Whether or not the phone takes good pictures. Does it have enough storage? Does it have LTE? Is this awesome phone available on my carrier? What colors does it come in? Is it durable?

    No matter how hard people try and no matter how much people hope, the problem with smartphones today will never be OEM skins. Touchwiz and HTC Sense have never and will never be the problem. The reason is because hundreds of millions of people actually like Touchwiz, Sense, etc. They like Blinkfeed, Samsung’s Drama Shot, and Sony’s sophisticated interface. What they don’t like is crappy battery life, crappy pictures, crappy performance, crappy availability, and a plethora of other problems. So when you say that these people’s opinions are inconsequential and state (wrongly) that everyone really just wants to be able to switch to stock Android on every phone, do you honestly expect OEMs to listen?

    The answer is no. At the end of the day, Android is an open source operating system. That means the OEMs, you, and I can do whatever we want with it. To even partially deny OEMs this right to be creative with this open platform by forcing them to include a switch back to stock is to spit directly into their face and into the face of everything that open source stands for. Besides, most people simply don’t care what kind of Android they’re running. What matters the most is whether or not the phone works.

    If you have the time, please vote in our poll! We’d like to get as many voters as possible so if you are up for it, let others know so they can vote too!

    What do you actually want OEMs to improve on most (select one answer)?

    View Results

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    Comments

    • Ben Enos

      Software updates was listed in the choices TWICE so it doesn’t exactly seem like an unbiased poll.

      • JosephHindy

        That’s what happens when I blog at 3am lol. Sorry about that, it’s been removed.

        Interesting factoid, though, is that software updates still beats out this Nexus Switch Mr Elgan claims everyone wanted, despite there being two choices for it and people voting for both.

        Apologies to the 6 people who’s votes won’t get counted because of my error. Poll is as it should be now :)

        • najiy91

          true,that switch thing.who cares?important for me first-battery life,fast charging,apps transferable to EXTERNAL sd card and rooted phone.or at least leave users to control cpu speed. most important underclock and saves battery life.

        • Ben Enos

          I voted for updates too. Instead of providing everyone with both systems, I would be happy if the providers didn’t lock the bootloader down and at least gave people the choice to root their devices and install whatever they wanted. Honestly I do like a lot of the features that came with touched on my Samsung and I’m sure lots of other ppl like having them too. Consumers just need to have a choice to root their phone and put whatever they want on them without providers constantly trying to block them.

    • AndroidShiz

      I like my Nexus experience no doubt simply because it just seems to always work and is basically glitch free. I’m using the HTC One Ge simply because of the extra storage space and SD cards seem to be a pain with Android. If other skins could update as smoothly as Nexus- I probably would be fine with them. But the fact is- phones with skins often get 1 to 2 updates. If its a mid-range device, meaning that technically it’s still very decent, it will probably get 0 updates. if carriers were out of the equation and simply provided cell phone service instead of worrying about developing apps that no one wants and putting software infused into the phone that no one wants, and left it to the OEMs, then I probably would be fine also.

      • JosephHindy

        See this is where I think people get misinterpreted. A Nexus warrior would say what you really want is only Nexus. Someone who listens hears “what I really want is better software updates” and we couldn’t agree more. Sense and Touchwiz need to be updated more often and flagships do need to get support later in their life than 1 or 2 updates. You’re absolutely right. :)

        • Pratik Holla

          Its mostly the damn carriers. Samsung to this day is upholding a Galaxy s2 update to 4.2 and the update for the S3 (guaranteed upto 4.4/5.0) is coming in July. Ill ignore HTC or Sony for now. Carriers dont need to be involved in this sham called “testing” updates. Just freaking provide quality service, don’t waste resources in making crap apps like VZ Navigator, and provide plans for people to upgrade their phones at a faster pace. Can’t wait to see Tmobile stick it to VZ and At&t.

    • PopeJamal

      You completely misrepresent the point of his article. His article is yet another riff on the old “Fragmentation” song. He doesn’t want everything to be a Nexus device. Nexus devices are the only Android devices that (mostly) avoid the fragmentation problem because they ALWAYS get upgraded to the latest and greatest as long as they are still supported. He recognizes this and (rightly I think) wants all the OEMs to “get with the program” in that regard.

      Do you know why people bought the S4? Because of the hardware and because of the software. TouchWiz itself was probably not a part of the decision making process for most people when choosing to purchase that phone.

      I (and probably most people) could care less about the presence of TouchWiz as an interface. There is zero reason for TouchWiz to exist other than for Samsung to try to herd us all off into their own low-rate walled garden. They could probably make their OEM camera apps and the like in a way that didn’t require their proprietary launcher/UI elements. That’s what people want, the apps, not the interface:

      The Samsung Camera? Awesome
      The Samsung Calendar? Awesome
      The ability to use all the custom phone sensors on my phone? Awesome

      Turning custom launchers like TouchWiz and Sense into a set of SKINS and PLUGINS for a more open launcher would do wonders for Android. OEMs could then compete on price, hardware, and value-adding software instead of forcing us to use interfaces that large numbers of Android users really hate.

      Some of the widgets included with my GNote2 are actually really nice, but I lose access to them whenever I switch launchers. They require the use of the TouchWiz launcher for some god-awful reason. There’s no need for that.

      Big Picture: THAT is probably the biggest thing that Android needs, mainly, they need to solve this fragmentation problem and all the smaller issues it causes to improve customer satisfaction. Battery life will and things like that will come naturally over time.

      • JosephHindy

        Thank you for giving us your opinion. That’s what this post is about. Finding out what people REALLY think instead of a blogger telling everyone what they think we need.

        What you’re saying is that people shouldn’t be allowed to use Google’s open source mobile OS how they want, but that it should be closed and, like iOS, OEMs should only have app developer-level clearance to do what they please?

        *edit*
        You lose all launcher widgets when you switch launchers. You lose GO launcher widgets when you switch from GO Launcher to something else. Sense 5, Apex, Chameleon, all launchers act this way. To blame it on OEM skins is wrong. They’re not the only ones that close off their features when you switch to different software :) everyone does it.

        • PopeJamal

          Of course OEMs can do what they want, but the trade off is the fragmented mess we have today.

          I’m saying two things: 1) Google did us all a disservice by not creating a more modular system as far as UI is concerned. They are partially to blame for touchwiz and sense even existing.

          2) OEMs need to play to their strengths. That’s custom apps, not entire UI makeovers.

          They can obviously do whatever they want, but they have no right to complain when people actively avoid their horrible UI decisions.

          • JosephHindy

            That is your opinion. It make sense in your head but on paper you couldn’t be more wrong.

            Touchwiz has had the most popular phone 3 years running (galaxy s2, 3, and 4). Before that HTC Sense owned the show. Stock Android hasn’t been the most popular version of Android since the years of the G1. That is the facts here.

            Look I understand you guys want a stock experience and there should be more options for a stock experience. But limiting it to ONLY one stock experience makes Android no better than iOS, Blackberry, and WP8. They only have one stock experience and OEMs can only make custom apps for it. You know what that strategy got them? Less than 20% market share, that’s what.

            The fact of the matter is that CM, AOKP, and PA all do the same stuff too. They code their own custom framework and include custom features hard coded into the OS that you don’t find on pure android. So, in all fact, CM does exactly what Samsung does, just to a lesser degree. AOKP does exactly what Sense 5 does, just to a lesser degree. The fact of the matter is that unless you run pure stock on a Nexus phone, your’e not even running pure Android!

            How about that for irony eh?

            • Kearney Taaffe

              Joseph,

              First, thank you for this article. You are absolutely correct, CM does use a custom ROM not a vanilla Android OS. I use CM. I like it’s performance, the vanilla-esque OS, and most importantly, the updates.

              Clearly I’m in the minority here. But, I’d be as happy a field lark if some manuf made a stock Android phone with the only exception being a custom camera app which took advantage of the built-in camera.

              Shoot, I be excited if the manuf. used the stock camera, but actually included the custom drivers for the camera.

              PopeJamal more or less had it right, but didn’t elaborate enough. Take HTC. They have released an HTC One running pure vanilla. They could capitalize on that by offering (i.e. selling) a camera app which took advantage of the UltraPixel sensors. They could further capitalize by selling an FM Radio app to go with their Google Edition One. That would be their strengths. Offer some hardware, then sell software add-ons.

              But, with that said, I’m in the minority. Plus, when polled, I cared more about performance than updates. LOL! Even I’m inconsistent.

              I’ll end with, anyone can improve battery life. I have the HTC One S running a custom Sense ROM I made. I removed all of T-Mobiles software along with about 80% of HTC’s software and frameworks/widgets. Battery lasts about 40 hours now.

              You probably should have put that in the article too, Android is open source, if you don’t like it, build a ROM yourself.

      • freedomspopular

        A lot of the software changes are at the framework level. So unless Google makes some fundamental changes to how the framework operates, what you’re wanting just isn’t possible.

    • Dorin Procopciuc

      It’s possible to change my vote?

      • JosephHindy

        Sorry but no :( I’d have to restart the poll in order to do that, but you can comment and tell us what you think. That’s what we want, your honest opinions.

      • OMGgary

        I also want to change mine to Mike Elgan’s Nexus Switch Concept, or at least have it noted here in the comments.
        I voted “Price” originally because I had no idea what Mike Elgan’s Nexus Switch concept meant. Telling people to vote before reading the article is rather misleading as most won’t know what the Elgan option is about and ignore it.

    • ehEye

      the thing that is minimizing smartPhone progress is the idiot buyers [or the misguided market researchers]; It “seems” that everyone wants “THINNER” phones; absolute bull. Who wouldn’t be happy with a slightly thicker phone if the battery might just last twice, three, four times as long. This race to the thinnest is leading to the race to the waste bin; because beyond having less ‘upTime’ when charged, recharging constantly wears out the batteries quicker – and almost nobody makes them replaceable any more! [the other good compromise would be to make all batteries replaceable and provide two with the phone allowing a backUp availability - and we could even buy a third.] And one last thing; all battery charging systems should be interchangeable and the chargers NOT sold with the phone – you only need to replace it when it no longer works, not each time you get a new phone (cheaper overAll package!).

      • JosephHindy

        ^ +1

        No arguments there :)

      • needa

        i agree. i think the biggest issue is the industry themselves is not done trying to produce the thinnest phone. maybe when they get bored with that… they will move onto making phones that last a bit longer.

      • Leonardo Rojas

        I agree. But sadly, no more replaceable batteries maybe have to do with Programmed Obsolescence. The ones giving replaceable batteries may have another way to it.
        Anyway, I hope they improve battery life and availability.

        - L.

    • rjr162

      I have to laugh a bit because most of the Android Authority people themselves are all “It’s not a Nexus device”. As said above, who cares? Personally I like much of the added software Samsung has on the S3 (larger panoramic shots than the AOSP camera in Paranoid or CM 10.1) for starters, but the split screen (works better on the Note II vs the S3 though due to screen size) etc.

      As a side note, Nokia has been destroying the competition in the camera department for some time.. and while it may be Windows 8 running on it, their new phone’s Camera just pushes the limits of what you’ll find on a phone higher again

      • JosephHindy

        Actually, the most popular device among our staff is the Note 2 followed by the Nexus 4 ;) If you go back to the days when the Note 2 was launched, it was all giggles and smiles out of us lol.

    • ofiki100

      Make smaller high end phones. Some people would like good performance AND portability, it’s not that difficult. I bought the Htc one s a few months back in thought that it was the best phone to fit my demands and then I found out that that it won’t be updated anymore. Apparently you can’t buy smaller phones and expect support for it.

      • JosephHindy

        Oh my I hadn’t considered that one! Personally, I’ve always loved the idea of a “family” of devices. One “regular” 5 inch phone, one “small” 4-4.3″ phone and one “extra large” 5.5-6″ phone.

        I totally forgot about you “I hate these big phones” people. I apologize!

        • omegavesko

          So, basically what HTC is doing?

          • JosephHindy

            Samsung does it now wit he S4 mini, S4 and then the Note 3 (which we all know is just king sized s4).

            The only thing that pisses me off is that they don’t release them at the same time. If I’d known when the One came out that the One phablet was coming, I would’ve held off. What they really need to do is release all this stuff at once so everyone can get what they want sooner.

          • ofiki100

            No. Because HTC and Samsung make smaller phones with lesser performance and much less support. I want a high end phone with high end specs and high end support , only smaller screen.

    • needa

      vanilla android is boring, lackluster, and featureless. the number of people that actually use vanilla android with no app tweaks or anything else can be counted on one hand out of millions. why? because it is boring, lackluster, and featureless.
      stock vanilla android and custom roms used to be the only way to have a smooth experience. that is no longer the case. so why has the stock vanilla argument not ceased to exist? i dunno. but i would suspect it has a lot to do with people being unable to make decisions for themselves.
      the very first thing i did with my nexus 4 was slap a kernel on it. there went stock right out the door and that nearly doubled my battery life. then i started with aokp. then cm. then back to aokp. once i realized i was getting the exact same experience on my gs2 with aokp…. i sold the nexus. now nearly seven moths later… i am hoping that the moto x will finally give me a different experience than what i have had since the beginning. for that is what matters, to me. something different. which is what google is unable to do with vanilla.

      • omegavesko

        Were you really getting the same experience? I know the SGS2 isn’t exactly an underpowered phone, but there should definitely be a noticeable difference in speed and UI smoothness between it and the Nexus 4.

        • needa

          its negligible at best. yes downloads and installs , along with boot-up times were much much faster. even the response of dialing a phone number was noticeably faster. but when it came to viewing web pages and launching apps… the difference was not what i was hoping for. i more or less realized that i had the same phone as before. but with the n4… i was unable to go back to touchwiz for something different when i got bored with the stock look.

    • Grman Rodriguez

      I’ll have to read that guy’s article, because either A. You manipulated his words to make him sound like a moron, or B. He is a moron. How could someone be so egocentric to believe that just because the market doesn’t have what he wants the whole industry is failing, and fullfilling his wishes will remedy that? That is the most stupid thing I’ve heard today. Lemme check that article out

      • JosephHindy

        His article is the first link. Read away.

        For the record, I don’t think he’s a moron. I just think he’s out of touch with what people actually want out of their OEMs.

        • Grman Rodriguez

          Just read, and maybe “moron” isn’t the best term, “crazy” is more adequate he basically said what you put in your article, and that’s insane

          • omegavesko

            I think he is a bit dim. You don’t have to be particularly smart to see that making a phone with stock Android won’t make your company an instant success overnight.

            • JosephHindy

              Didn’t work for LG ;) Didn’t put a dent in Samsung’s Android dominance with the Nexus 4.

              I read somewhere that the Galaxy S3 has sold more than all Nexus devices combined and I wish I could’ve found it because I wanted to link it in this article so bad.

            • Grman Rodriguez

              In fact, Nexus 4 didn’t even fulfill it’s purpose. It is supposed to push OEMs to a certain direction, and I don’t see many going the Nexus way, as I still see manufacturers putting unnecessarily high specs and prices to their phones

            • JosephHindy

              I SAW NO MORE CRAPPY GLASS BACKS!

              Hallelujah, because glass backs was a stupid freaking idea lol.

            • Adam Koueider

              GLASS BACKS ARE REALLY STUPID!(agreed)

              Unfortunately, we did see the Xperia Z, which had a glass back.

            • AndroidShiz

              that’s because most people don’t know how smooth the Nexus device runs. if it was available at the carriers subsidized price, people’d probably choose a more reliable phone that actually gets probably at least 3 to 4 updates vs an expensive one that gets one maybe two

            • Stuart Cook

              Omegavesko – you’ve got a lot to say on the matter and about Elgan. But if you’re going to start calling someone a moron don’t you think it would be cool if you at least had the guts to use your real name?

            • omegavesko

              I’ve been on the Internet for long enough to know that using your real name anywhere other than Facebook is a very unwise thing to do.

      • omegavesko

        He is a moron. More specifically, he’s so far down the AOSP circlejerk hole that he literally thinks making a phone with stock Android makes an instantly successful phone.

    • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

      Sorry Joe. I agree with Mike here. Stock Android with custom applications unlocking the hardware’s full potential is what we want. The Android modding community has wanted this for quite some time. We want to have a stock experience so we remove TouchWiz or Sense. Then, we say dammit, I love the way my phone works and looks but I really wish XYZ was still available. Either way:

      • JosephHindy

        Lol I am quite calm sir, but 91% of those polled (so far) don’t agree with you. I’m one of them. I’d much rather OEMs focus more on battery life and updates and especially availability than worry about the 9% think.

        • needa

          you want them to focus on more than one thing but only gave us the option for one.
          1 battery. 2 camera. 3 updates.

          • JosephHindy

            Well the idea was to isolate what people thought was most important. Thank you for reading sir!

            • needa

              just razzin ya. :)

            • JosephHindy

              /fell4it lol

        • Jonathan Franklin

          The problem is that the poll results are speaking to hardware features. We all want battery life, and because a user wants more battery life doesn’t mean that they love everything about the OEM software suite. It simply is them stating that battery life is their biggest concern of all of the concerns listed. While there are some things that OEMs do to improve battery with power saver modes, battery life is mostly an issue of capacity. Not compromising to go too thin and using that space they saved to cram more battery in there.

          • JosephHindy

            The point being that Mike Elgan said that his Nexus + custom apps idea “was the only winning strategy to stop losing money and stop making profits” Go back and read it, he expressly states that.

            You are misinterpreting what I’m trying to measure here, which is how much people care about “Nexus + custom apps” and how little people would buy into that concept, especially since their current problems aren’t being solved.

            As the polls show, people care a lot more about things like battery life and software updates. That means these are the things that people consider most important. Those are the things that’ll keep them from telling their dumbphone using friends to buy a smartphone. Fix the problems, and you get a customer base that’ll sell your phone for you.

            Giving it Nexus + custom apps won’t generate that kind of brand/customer loyalty, it’s just what you nexus-warrior people so you’ve attempted to concoct a way where doing what you want makes sense. Sadly, that is and will never be the case. real life people want their real life problems fixed.

            That and marketing, lots and lots of marketing.

      • Grman Rodriguez

        No, you are making the same mistake Mike was doing, tock Android with custom applications unlocking the hardware’s full potential is what You and a small percentage of the community want. And one opinion simply isn’t what people want.

      • najiy91

        agree.give access to users.

    • Jeff

      Improved multi-windows capabilities

    • gommer strike

      I’ll just say it LIKE IT IS, and how it *should* be.

      1) Battery life. Mother****ing battery life. It’s not enough. Don’t cheap out on us when it comes to battery. 4000maH should be the industry standard MINIMUM. If you can’t put companies like MUGEN battery out of business, then you’ve failed. Stop it with the fetish of makings phones thinner and smaller. Who cares about that.

      2) Screen. Don’t cheap out here either. We want the best of the best. None of this BS stuff where oh, this phone’s screen is clearly inferior to the next. No more. They should be all uniformly awesome. Color, brightness, saturation blah blah who cares. All that matters is – they are all awesome and represent REAL WORLD colors.

      3) Camera. Please, no gimmicks. Just give us the good stuff. Don’t cheap out.

      Why the hell do manufacturers have to cheap out when it comes to the top 3 most important things about the phone? Can we…just not compromise anymore, please? I’m paying $600-800 for you guys to give me best in the world, and you’re letting me down.

    • najiy91

      battery life-fast charging-led screen-rooted/at least some access for users for example underclock cpu speed and last one-apps and games transterable to EXTERNAL sd card.

      p/s:battery life,fast charging and led screen i throw it to sony!!!

      • najiy91

        you have the led technology for tv!change the screen!

    • Poldaddy

      here are my thoughts as an owner of an S3 for about a year.

      1: Screen is good. i dont need more pixels, its clear enough, and more pixels would just use more power. i would like it to be brighter and/or easier to see outdoors though. but enough with the pixels
      2: Bigger battery would be great. as long as its removable
      3: size matters, but not as much as OEMs like to think. i have an otterbox commuter case on my S3 (coz im a clutz) and i like the feel better than without it. it feels stronger. so for me 15mm is fine, and maybe preferable to 10mm thickness
      4: more processing power is good as long as it can be dialled back to save battery
      5: waterproof, dustroof and shockproof are major selling points unless you live in a bubble
      6: external storage such as an SD card is very important.
      7: and a good camera is also useful. if you’re a pro, use a DSLR, but im not, so i like taking photos of things whenever i want. HDR is the best thing ever i have recently discovered! the 8MP in my S3 is doing me fine, but more is better in this case i think.

      just my opinions, i think a few people will agree

    • Joe Blanton

      I think you have vastly overstated the nexus idea from the article you are referencing… All he really wants is those apps in touchwiz, etc. to be available based on the hardware and not only as a feature of the software, and i couldn’t agree more. Much like Google started doing at IO this year… Everyone agrees that idea was genius. If they can make an app to do nothing other than download a jay-z album available only on certain devices then certainly they could do that for a camera app.

      • JosephHindy

        *sigh*

        Read the article please. I spent quite some time reading and then writing this. More importantly, read the poll. The numbers are right there. 50% of people care about battery life. Virtually no one cares about OEM skins becoming “free apps”. There’s no incentive for smartphone makers to do that. Who’s going to buy the S4 when the S3 can just download the S4 apps and be done with it? No one. Smartphone sales will tank because people will just update apps and not phones and by the end, iOS, WP8, and Blackberry will begin to regain control of the market share.

        Under no circumstances should Android ever be narrowed down to “one single OS”. The fact of the matter is that no one wants that, no matter how great the idea sounds on paper. In practice, it’s a stupid idea that will cost OEMs billions of dollars every year and they know that.

        • Joe Blanton

          I could be wrong, but did not that very thing happen with the S3 and S4 scenario you just spelled out? Obviously not everything the S4 is capable of was ported to the S3 because some of it is hardware specific. But they could have just as easily done this via apps instead of firmware and pleased 20% of your polls respondents. When i think nexus, i think only of having an unlocked bootloader and the ability to root – thats all i really want. If touchwiz is awesome, i’ll keep it. I’ll at least make a nandroid of it! I am thinking of getting a Note 3 when it comes out, but i must admit that i am wary of leaving the nexus experience – when an update is available…i want it NOW! But i’m with Verizon so thats obviously not even a possibility – hence the need for the ability to flash my own firmware.

    • Blowntoaster

      I vote for Better battery life as well as more features. the whole awareness thing with the Moto X will be an awesome thing if incorporated into future iterations of Android. That is truly “smart”. variations of the S features on other OEM devices. MultiWindow on HTC One anyone? Air Gestures as Part of Stock Android? C’mon, it’s not a gimmic. it’s awesome!!!!

      • Micro Shaquer

        Halleluyah

    • Paolo T.

      Seriously. Samsung is the ONLY smartphone maker that really gets it – allow for user-replaceable batteries. Sure, Motorola stuffs ginormous batteries into their Verizon-only DROID MAXX’s, but it’s not enough to compensate for the inability to replace it when you feel the battery’s gone sour (which can happen in as little as 6-9 months)

      I mean sure, their plastic is tacky, scratchy, and not entirely pleasing to the touch, TouchWiz can drag even the Galaxy S4 down like a Ferrari 458 with a roof rack, and the motion wares work best if you are a robot, but the Note II that I have goes on and on and on, and that’s important!

      Why can’t ALL OEM’s allow for user-replaceable batteries?

    • Jonathan Franklin

      Counterpoint to a counterpoint:

      1: The poll never asks the question of if someone is or isn’t satisfied with the “features” in their OEM software stack

      2: The poll never asks if they’d be content with Stock UI with the addition of features that their phone advertises, which is actually what Elgan was proposing. This could be gestures, this could be Blinkfeed, or whatever else. Basically, all the features they’re marketing without heavily modifying the UI and framework.

      3: Many options in the poll are related to hardware features. Battery life is, mostly, a hardware feature fully dependant on capacity. Camera performance is also a hardware feature. You can have great battery life on AOSP, you can have great battery life on Touchwiz, you can have great battery life on Sense. So people wanting that doesn’t indicate which software stack they prefer. You can have great camera performance with either as well.

      4: As the poll currently sits, it’s Battery life on top, then software updates, then Mike Elgan’s Nexus switch, then Overall performance, Price.. Anyway. Software Customization (themes, add/remove features like Blinkfeed or S-Voice) is hovering at a whopping 3%. So while you’re saying “the other 92%”, you aren’t taking into account that only 3% of people voted for more/less features from the OEM software stack. Furthermore, software updates….well let’s just say that isn’t something Touchwiz, Sense, Optimus UI, and Blur were well known for.

      Basically, creating a poll that centers around trying to disprove Elgan’s theory is fine, but where it fails is that the poll doesn’t actually center around software which is the primary argument to be made here. Everybody wants better battery life and that applies universally whether it’s Android in any form, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or whatever else. So realistically one can’t conclude what a person’s SOFTWARE preference is from a poll that mentions absolutely nothing about OEM software stacks in general, with the only reference to software features (software customization) clocking in at a meager 3% of the poll. If anything, that tells you just how much more Android users value hardware vs software currently, and the rest (performance, updates) revolve around the experience of that software rather than what that software stack actually IS.

      • JosephHindy

        “Everybody wants better battery life and that applies universally whether it’s android in any form, iOS, WP, Blackberry, or whatever else.”

        That’s absolutely correct and the very point I’m making in this article. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. Everyone wants better battery life, only a few people want the Nexus experience on every phone. Winner = everyone. That’s what this article set out to prove.

        Thank you!

    • Bret Rogers

      I don’t live in the states, so I have no idea about this. But was the Nexus phone advertised at all? I mean Samsung threw millions of dollars worldwide in just advertising the S3(and now the S4). Add in the fact that Joe Hindy said, you can’t just walk into Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile and get hands on with a Nexus 4 right? So why wouldn’t Samsung greatly outsell the Nexus? Add in the carrier subsidies and all people start really seeing is the cost difference.

      The OEMs don’t want you to use vanilla Android, they want your user data. Samsung would be happy if you never used anything other than their apps and app store.

      But yes, I agree with Mike Elgan for the most part. Giving us vanilla Android with OEM designed apps that would make the best use of our phones would be the best. Hell, they could even offer their launchers on the play store for download. So now you’re getting faster updates because Google is in charge of the OS, your getting better battery life because there is zero bloatware on the phone and you can control exactly what apps are doing. And you’re able to get the best use of your hardware with OEM dedicated apps designed for your phone.

    • Guest

      Three other important things to look at:-

      1. Better built quality. Plastics just ain’t cutting it any more (here’s looking at you Samsung). It makes no sense that flagships like S4 or the Note series are given the plastic treatments especially given it’s price range. Learn from HTC One and Sony Xperia Z.

      2. Weight. With 200g (1/5 of a 1KG!) being the norm nowadays, smart phones are getting heavier with every new model change. And this is never a good thing.

      3. Thickness (goes in hand with point no. 2 above). Thinner (and lighter) is better. Enough said.

    • siju

      Androig has to be smooth and fast like apple

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