What's the point of Android skins?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by THE JUICEMAN, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. THE JUICEMAN macrumors 68000

    THE JUICEMAN

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #1
    This was a good read that I thought I should share.

    http://m.gizmodo.com/5963773/whats-the-point-of-android-skins?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_twitter&utm_source=gizmodo_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

    Personally, I prefer stock Android but the skins are getting better. I can't stand when Samsung or HTC change vital parts of the OS like the recent apps menu for example. Also, they take up more resources on the phone which could lead to worse performance. Also, this article again says that the carriers are the main problem. Skins can sometimes have some value as well. What's everyone else's opinion?
     
  2. aerok macrumors 65816

    aerok

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    Oct 29, 2011
    #2
    Skins can be annoying but if done right can be great. Such is the case for the Samsung Galaxy Note II. I usually avoid skins but with this one, for the first time, I prefer it over stock skin.
     
  3. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #3
    agreed. I don't see why so many people hate touchwiz and the features samsung added with the s3.....I actually think they are really good.
     
  4. THE JUICEMAN thread starter macrumors 68000

    THE JUICEMAN

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    Oct 3, 2007
    #4
    Touchwiz isn't bad. Doesn't seem as heavy as sense. I could use it if I had to. But little things would bother me like not having a clean notification shade, and having to long press for Google now and recent apps. Maybe I'm just picky.
     
  5. nick_elt macrumors 68000

    nick_elt

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    Oct 28, 2011
    #5
    I tried a few skins but didn't see what the fuss was all about. Touchwizz is fine and smoother. Why change it if it creates lag?
     
  6. Prototypical macrumors 6502

    Prototypical

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    Apr 22, 2011
    Location:
    Nebraska
    #6
    The great part about the openness of Android is... you can change almost anything you want.

    The bad part about the openness of Android is... OEMS can change almost anything they want. :p
     
  7. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #7
    Only a year or so ago, people were hating, I mean downright loathing TouchWiz.

    I still dislike TW, but they've definitely won people over.
     
  8. TheHateMachine macrumors 6502a

    TheHateMachine

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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #8
    Touchwiz used to be horrible, it was a straight up clone of iOS. It still has alot of similarities but they have moved away from it thankfully. Now its kind of a mishmash of odd colors and gradients. I prefer Holo over it but TW does bring some cool features and it has come along way to being as smooth and responsive as stock.

    Motoblur had some cool features, hell back in 2010 my Droid X had Twitter and Facebook integration directly into Android thanks to Motoblur but it was a laggy overlay and slowed the phone down alot. Motoblur is pretty much gone these days as Motorola phones are basically stock with carrier bloat at this point.

    Sense IMO is just bad. It feels like it is still stuck in Gingerbread. That and it hogs resources.

    I know why the OEMs make skins, they need something that will differentiate their product from the rest. Also while the carriers do bad things to the phones they shouldn't get all of the blame. The OEMs write horribly inefficient code which causes their overlays to bog these devices down. Custom roms and AOSP would always remove alot of the carrier and OEM bloat and replace launchers with custom ones or heavily modified stock launchers. The phones just ran so much better in those days with custom roms.
     
  9. THE JUICEMAN thread starter macrumors 68000

    THE JUICEMAN

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #9
    Saw a video of the Droid DNA where sense was taking up double the RAM that the Nexus 4 running stock was with the same programs running. I think it was pocket now and their Droid DNA vs Nexus 4 video. That is not ok for sense to hog all of those resources.
     
  10. Stuntman06 macrumors 6502a

    Stuntman06

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    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Metro Vancouver, B.C, Canada
    #10
    My first Android phone was the HTC Desire Z that has Sense. My latest is the Samsung GS3 with TouchWiz. I find that there are features in Sense and TW that I really like. Sense comes with some of the best widgets ever. I really like their analogue clock and full-screen Twitter widget. TW has the power controls in the notification bar. I like being able to toggle auto-rotate on the fly without having to go back to the home screen.

    When I looked at my friend's Nexus device, I find that many of the features that came with Sense or TW missing. I would miss them. Even now, I find I am missing those widgets that I really like on Sense that is not available on TW. I have had to find substitutes which I feel are inferior.

    I do find that there are many vocal people who just hate skins. I think that many just want Android unblemished by someone else's idea of what may be useful. A fiend with a Nexus tried out the Note and hated it because things are "different".

    For me, I don't know exactly where the skin ends and Android begins. All I care about is being able to access the objects that I need to. I do customise my phone with my own launcher. Still, I do see the power controls in the notification bar which I assume is TW. The launch adds some more features that I want and TW offers some features that I want.
     
  11. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #11
    pure android is very basic and doesn't have any of the "cool" features the s3 or note offer. I'm trying to think of a feature that is pure android and cannot....maybe the notifications pull down. Everything else....the stay feature, picture in picture, lift to call are all added by the skin/samsung. I think the s3 really got it right on so many levels. My first android experience was the s3 and then the nexus. I remember the first time I used the nexus I was thinking "where are those cool android features".....then I started digging and realized they were added by touchwiz and samsung.
     
  12. 3bs macrumors 603

    3bs

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    Dublin, Ireland
    #12
    That's why I don't see the point of getting a Nexus phone and not rooting and trying out custom ROMs. Even then you still don't get a lot of the feature you're talking about but it definitely adds stuff.
     
  13. TheHateMachine macrumors 6502a

    TheHateMachine

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    Houston, TX
    #13
    It is more to avoid the OEM and Carrier bloat + Timely updates. Samsung's strategy is to figure out a handful of different features and hope some of em stick and stand out. Smart stay, direct call and pop up video all have app alternatives that can be configured to give you these features. I like my Galaxy S3 but I think my next phone will be a vanilla phone. I personally prefer Holo over any OEM Theme.
     
  14. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #14
    ^ agreed about the updates part, but when you think about how long "we" keep our phones it's almost irrelevant. I haven't had a phone for more than a year in a long time.
     
  15. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    Oct 27, 2009
    #15
    Same here. Touchwiz is actually my favorite, and I tried them all. Samsung's Galaxy features are pretty nice.
     
  16. Stuntman06 macrumors 6502a

    Stuntman06

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    Metro Vancouver, B.C, Canada
    #16
    For me, I'm not so impatient about updates unless I feel there is something wrong and needs to be fixed. I also feel that sometimes updates makes changes that I do not want changed.

    Yesterday, I got my JB update for my SGS3. I was pretty happy with my GS3 on ICS as I have no complaints. A friend was really adamant that I should get it as he has been using it a while on his Galaxy Nexus. When I did the update, what I noticed in terms of improvements was that the slight lag on a game I no longer play regularly is no longer there. Facebook launches faster. My Dilbert app no longer has a scrolling issue which made it easier. I use Nova Launcher and it is noticeably smoother than before when transitioning home screens. I had no complaints before, so this was a nice but not necessary change.

    What changed that bothered me was the way you have to launch apps where you did not set a default. I do not set a default browser. Before, when I tap a link, it asks me which browser to use. I tap on it and it launches. Now I have to tap on the browser, then I also have to tap on <Just Once> to launch it. This is annoying. How is tapping twice really an improvement over tapping once on ICS?

    Another thing that bothered me was that for some reason, Pulse no longer has this button at the bottom of each article to launch the article in a browser. I have to tap the menu button and then tap <Launch in Browser> in that menu. Since I have no default browser set, I have to tap twice more before I get to see the article in a browser. That's going from 2 taps on ICS to 4 taps on JB.

    So far, JB has not impressed me. It made an app that I hardly use better and makes an app that I use very often worse. I see no improvement enough that justifies making these things that I do most often more inconvenient.

    I've only had it for less than a day. Perhaps I will discover other things that make JB better. So far, my first impressions on the JB update has not made me feel it was worth updating. The things I noticed it improved is less significant than the things it made worse for me at least.
     
  17. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #17
    so why not set it to "always" and make that your default if you always use it?
     
  18. Stuntman06 macrumors 6502a

    Stuntman06

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    Metro Vancouver, B.C, Canada
    #18
    I like Chrome the most, but it does not support Flash. Occasionally, I tap on a link that takes me to a web site that has Flash content. If I then want to open that link in my stock browser which does support Flash, I would have to copy the URL, go to my home screen, open my stock browser (which is in a folder) and then paste the URL and then launch the web site. It is much faster for me to back out of Chrome to the app with the link, tap on the link and then select the stock browser.

    I find that depending on the link, I may want to try different browsers occasionally. Different browsers have different features that I may want to use depending on the situation. I do use Opera Mini on occasion because it is sometimes faster. Also, depending on the web site, a different browser may be better. Sometimes, I launch a different browser if there appears to be an issue with the web site and I want to see if a different browser works better.

    I do set defaults from time to time. I always use the YouTube app as my default for viewing YouTube videos.
     
  19. THE JUICEMAN thread starter macrumors 68000

    THE JUICEMAN

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #19
    You can double tap on the browser instead of tapping and then tapping just once. Still slower but a little bit faster.
     
  20. matttye macrumors 601

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    Location:
    Lincoln, England
    #20
    The change to pulse is because of pulse, not jelly bean.
     

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