Just yesterday I wrote an opinion piece asking if Android L and Android Silver could eventually drive a new age where more manufacturers embraced stock and stock-like Android in favor of heavily customized skins. While we still don’t know the answer to that question, one manufacturer has now announced plans to ditch its own custom launcher efforts for the Google Now Launcher: ZTE.
According to their official press release, ZTE will move to GEL on select devices, starting with the the Blade Vec 4G in Hong Kong — though it is unknown if ZTE plans to update the existing European version. Of course it’s always possible for these users to simply download the launcher via Google Play.
In addition to the Vec 4G, ZTE says they will unveil at least one other “premium” device on July 24th in Hong Kong with GEL pre-installed. As for ZTE’s future devices? ZTE says it will continue to pre-load Google Now Launcher onto all Android 4.4 and above smartphones that it releases, provided they also have Google Mobile Services and Google Play enabled.
For those looking for devices with a Nexus-like experience, this is certainly a welcome move. That said, we imagine the phones will still be loaded up with all sorts of “value added” goodies (bloatware), but it’s still a step in the right direction and one we applaud ZTE for.