Image Source: ThisGreenMachine
Device after device hits the Android world rocking some ill-formed skin. And while it may look decent on the surface, the fact of the matter is that it’s another layer onto of the OS; an unnecessary layer. It’s not needed. It slows down updates, makes phones slower, causes users more confusion, etc.
A piece published on The Verge last night focuses on Motorola specifically, and highlights how their recent RAZR releases have come closer than ever to releasing with stock Android on a wide scale. Their old MOTO BLUR skin which was truly atrocious has morphed into something unrecognizable from it’s gag inducing original style to the point it almost feels like stock Android. Still, it’s not completely stock.
Last night Motorola Senior Vice President Product Rick Osterloh spoke to a group of reporters and said that while Motorola now tries to get as close to stock Android as possible, their partners (read: carriers) ultimately have the final say. And they say they want skins to “differentiate”. Sadly, differentiate does not mean anything of any importance to the customer.
As we’ve said many times before, manufacturers (and especially) carriers are not software/UI designers yet they constantly keep trying to be. Name one, single OS skin or app that was designed by a carrier that’s actually 1) looked good and 2) been helpful to the customer. *waits…..* There aren’t any. As long as carriers continue to put money before good UI design and actual customer needs, their in-house apps are always going to suck.
Then there’s the whole issue of carriers being in denial about being dumb pipes. As much as they’re fighting it and claim to the contrary, their sole purpose now is to deliver data. The whole breakdown and multiple artificial limitations they impose are unnecessary and far from beneficial to customers, no matter how much they claim them to be.
At the end of the day it is more of the same. Carriers are spoiling Android by dabbling in things they have no experience in and no business messing with. And it’s hurting all of us.