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What do I "lose" with straight Android?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by gordonwd, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. gordonwd

    gordonwd Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I'm thinking of a Nexus for my next phone, but am not sure where plain Android ends and mfr/carrier customizations begin on the phones I've been using. I had an unlocked HTC Desire (Android 2.3) and now an AT&T Galaxy S2 (4.x), but have never been exactly sure what functionality is custom vs. standard Android.

    For example, a lot of the newer phones have some tricked-out camera options that I'm sure are missing in the basic release. Also, aren't there some hardware features that the mfrs build in that would not be recognized by a vanilla Android build?

    I have no interest in rooting my phone and flashing new system images, etc. But I do want to be able to quickly upgrade to new Android versions, and as a developer I'd like to be able to verify that my product works on a phone with no vendor-specific add-ons getting in the way. Will I feel that I've lost anything by going this route?

  2. lion7718

    lion7718 Android Enthusiast

    I think if you use the camera a lot, you might lose out. The Nexus 4 camera is pretty basic, but it also was the 1st with 'photosphere'...we don't know really what the N5 will bring.
    I find that HTC phones are the closest looking to pure Android...compared to Samsung phones...but I really don't like HTC phones...lol
    I went from a Samsung Exhibit 4G to the Nexus 4...it took a few days to get used to what was & wasn't there...but from now on I can't see me using anything else.
    IMO...the Nexus is the way to go...but I also mean the true Nexus line...not the Samsung or HTC Nexus versions.
  3. gordonwd

    gordonwd Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Thanks. What is meant by "true" Nexus? They're all made by someone -- isn't the Nexus 4 by LG?
  4. lion7718

    lion7718 Android Enthusiast

    Yes the N4 & N5 are from LG...True Nexus (Google was involved). The Samsung GS4 & the HTC One Nexus versions are technically not True Nexus. They as close to a Nexus without being a Nexus...they have some extras & they're updates come from Samsung & HTC & not from Google.

    Google Nexus
  5. El Presidente

    El Presidente Beware The Milky Pirate!
    VIP Member

    I don't think you'll lose much. A lot of carrier/OEM customisation equivalents are available as standalone apps on Play so there's no real issues there.

    With regards to the camera being slightly basic, there are plenty of decent camera apps available that offer much more than the stock Nexus offering so there are no problems there either.

    As a developer getting a nexus might actually put you in a better position because you can verify your app works with the latest version of Android before the latest version rolls out to the masses. :)
    Crashdamage likes this.
  6. You could add that many customised phones come with a pile of useless garbage that you cannot remove without breaking their rules.

    My Android (from Orange in the UK) came with two Map programs. Quite why Orange felt the need to duplicate Google Maps is beyond me.

    Then there are the useless games that I will never use, and crappy barcode scanner that is nowhere near the quality of a free app.

    It was a delight to move to a Nexus 4 that is completely at my mercy to customise and screw up as I see fit.
    bjacks12 likes this.
  7. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Android Enthusiast

    You lose:
    Crappy UI overlays
    Long waits for updates
    Manufacturer abandonment

  8. Medion

    Medion Android Expert

    I just want to clarify this. As a Google Play Edition user, our updates do in fact come straight from Google. The update process goes like this:

    -Google sends vanilla Android, as it is on the Nexus 4, to Samsung and HTC.
    -HTC and Samsung add in their kernel to make sure that certain functionality unique to that handset (MicroSD, camera features, IR port, etc) is retained.
    -Update is sent back to Google for testing.
    -Google pushes the update.

    The difference between a Nexus and a Google Play Edition is that a Nexus is a true developer phone, while a GPe is intended to be a stock-Android experience, but is still somewhat closed down. If a person wants stock Android and doesn't care about developer options, a GPe may be a better choice than a Nexus. We received Android 4.3 a mere 8 days after the Nexus 4, and we received the 66Y security/stability update 2-3 weeks after the Nexus 4.

    The Nexus is an awesome device and the best value in smartphones today. But for many people, the Google Play Edition devices are a better fit.
    Crashdamage likes this.
  9. ooberandy

    ooberandy Android Enthusiast

    One of the reasons i moved to a nexus was the speedy updates. The times you say above look ok to me, but will be interesting to see how speedy a big upgrade like 4.4 will take to filter through. If its the same sort of time frame, then I'd consider a GPe phone (if they ever come to the UK) :)

Nexus 4 Forum

The Nexus 4 release date was November 2012. Features and Specs include a 4.7" inch screen, 8MP camera, 2GB RAM, Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, and 2100mAh battery.

November 2012
Release Date

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