Google’s Android OS has done well to establish itself as a genuine player in the mobile OS field, an area Apple’s iOS dominated for so long. Android currently accounts for over 70% of the worldwide smartphone market. There is, however, one major factor preventing Android from reaching its full potential.
At the moment, most Android devices come loaded with ‘bloatware’, applications installed on the phone by the device manufacturer or network provider that usually can’t be uninstalled without difficulty. While some of these apps are legitimately useful and function well, a fair majority are useless and just take up valuable memory and homescreen space.
Stock Android phones receive updates directly from Google, have the ability to run more smoothly than phones slowed down by unnecessary applications and are generally easier on the battery than their ‘bloatware’ fuelled counterparts. Furthermore, bloatware has the potential to be linked to the carrier or manufacturer’s partners for promotional purposes
The only genuine option for people wanting a phone running stock Android is the LG Nexus 4, available on Google’s Play Store.
I have a Samsung Galaxy SII which is entering the final months of a contract with Australian network provider Optus. When I first received it, I couldn’t believe the amount of Optus applications installed on it. Of the 18 (yes, 18!) Optus applications, I can safely say I’ve never used a single one.
However, since Google acquired Motorola in May 2012, it seems like more Android phones running stock software could be on its way, and this can only be a good thing.
“From a software and UI perspective, our strategy is to embrace Android and to make it the best expression of Android and Google in the market. It will be the unadulterated version of Android, and I feel really good about our embracing Android and being the best Android experience,” Motorola design chief, Jim Wicks.
Motorola isn’t the only device manufacturer planning to enter the stock Android market. More recently, at Google’s I/O event in San Francisco, a Samsung Galaxy S4 running stock Android to be available from Google’s Play Store was announced.
To have a top-of-the-line Android device like the Galaxy S4 running a stock version of the OS can only be a good thing for the Android community. We’ll finally be able to see these cutting-edge devices running at their full potential, with an OS implemented exactly how Google designed it to be.