stock android Stories March 24, 2016

“Be together, not the same” is the mantra Google has been spreading for quite some time now. It’s a good reflection of its intent and purpose; with 1.5 billion active users and a myriad of OEM partners contributing to its growth, the OS couldn’t ask for more diversity. Among Android enthusiasts, however, a vastly shared belief is that the stock, unadulterated, ‘vanilla’ experience delivered by Google is generally superior to basically any of the offerings brought to the table by third parties. This mainly stems from a bad history that saw manufacturers continuously deliver sub-par experiences and often lag far behind in the update cycle, not to mention the numerous design inconsistencies which added up to Google’s own often messy and unclear aesthetics. When Material Design was introduced back in 2014, however, a few things started to change.

For one, notoriously ill-designed UIs such as those from LG and Samsung (as well as from HTC, Sony, and most others) started to follow Google’s now precise and definite guidelines more closely, giving Android an overall sense of basic consistency at least across major instances. Samsung’s TouchWiz, in particular, got often criticized over the years because of its excessive bloatware and poor design choices, but with the massive hardware overhaul brought by the Galaxy S6 last year, software too got a considerable Lollipop-based facelift which went a little under the radar. The Galaxy S7 brought the whole thing one step further, and even coming from a long series of stock Android devices, I have to admit that my experience with TouchWiz wasn’t just not bad, but left me thinking of it as an outright smart, good-looking and overall well designed ‘skin’…

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stock android Stories November 13, 2015

At the beginning, OEM partners were vital in order to spread Android. Google would handle the hard work of creating the operating system, while OEMs would manufacture and deal with carriers. This approach worked and Android is now the most used mobile OS and Samsung is the largest smartphone vendor in terms of shipped devices. But how is Google going to keep Android growing into the future?.. expand full story

Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

stock android Stories October 19, 2015

The Moto G has always been a great deal but it hasn’t been paired with the best budget carriers to date. In what might be a big holiday seller for mid-tier users, Sprint subsidy Virgin today began offering 3 new Android smartphones including the Moto G 3rd gen. for $150, the HTC Desire 626s for $130 and Huawei Union at $80.

The standout here is the Moto G which I absolutely loved (with a few caveats) which retails at $180. The 5-inch phone is pretty close to flagship level last year with a few missing bits. The 5 inch screen is perfect sized but the lack of NFC payment options might be a turn off. It shares the camera of the Nexus 6 and it is IPX7 waterproof to 3 feet for 30 minutes.  Hopefully Virgin won’t mess with the almost stock Android and provide timely updates (fingers crossed)

That $30 you save you can pay your 1st month of usage on the 3 gig 4G of data plan (see plans below). While Sprint’s network may not be the strongest in all areas, I’ve found it to be improving rapidly lately.

The Moto G will almost certainly be the first Android 6.0 device on Virgin and at $150 down and $30/month a great gift idea for the kids/parents/grandparents out there. Alternatively, if you want to use an Android device like an iPod touch (without a carrier) this is the first $30 discount we’ve seen. expand full story

stock android Stories July 6, 2015

Android One has arrived in Pakistan at long last, and does so with the launch of the QMobile A1 smartphone. In a blog post this morning, Google announced that consumers will be able to snag one of these new handsets for just 11,500 PKR (around $110 USD) starting today. expand full story

stock android Stories September 2, 2013

If manufacturers or carriers ever needed evidence that 9to5google is not alone in wishing they’d lay off the overlays, new figures suggest that overlay-killer Go Launcher EX is now the 6th most popular Android app. The app allows you to set your own customised homescreen to replace that set by the manufacturer or carrier …  expand full story

stock android Stories July 12, 2013

Now that there are two variants of the HTC One floating around, one with Sense 5 and one with near-stock Android, customers have a decision to make. Do you want the unsubsidized, $650 Google Play Edition model or the subsidized model variant with Sense 5? A new app from the longtime Android developer Paul O’Brien aims to get rid of that problem by making it easy to switch between the two software builds on either variant.

The video above demonstrates the Switch app that does just that – lets you switch between Sense 5 and stock Android. It’s incredibly simple. All you have to do is launch the Switch app and choose which experience to boot into. Because the apps and data are stored in a central environment, all your data is accessible in both ROMs. expand full story

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