I think I have fully made up my mind that my next Android phone will be a Google Nexus device. The Nexus devices offer something that no other Android phones on the market offer: a clean, stock, the way Google wanted it to be device that receives timely updates as soon as they are available. You don’t have to worry about terrible pre-loaded skins that completely bog down even the fastest devices on the market, as well as the lack of uninstallable bloatware that has unfortunately reared its ugly head onto these very expensive devices.
Manufacturer Android Skins
Android device manufactures, such as Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and LG (henceforth known as “the OEM’s”) all modify the version of Android that come pre-installed with their phones. They all put their own UI on top of Android to “enhance the experience of Android”, “add more features”, and lastly (but most importantly), “differentiate themselves from the competition”. The OEM’s all have their own unique skins, such as MotorBlur, Sense, and TouchWiz.
On the surface, these look like simple, flashy skins. However, they have become much more than that. Originally, that’s all they were, skins/launchers. If you wanted to “remove” MotorBlur, or Sense, etc., you would just install a different launcher app (such as Launcher Pro). However, they have since evolved to be more than just a skin. They now deeply embed hidden background processes into Android that consume RAM, CPU, and worse yet – battery life. Thus, simply installing Launcher Pro will not fix the problem.
But how can they differentiate themselves if they are all running the same OS?
Simple…by making great hardware. When someone buys a phone, one of the first things they look at is the hardware. They look at the size of the screen, the thickness, the build quality, the presence (or lack of presence) of a physical qwerty keyboard, the weight, the color, the carrier the phone is on, the battery life, the call quality, the screen quality, internal storage, SD card availability, camera quality, presence of front-facing camera, etc. Those are all *incredibly* important factors of a device. 100% of those are areas that the OEM’s have the complete expertise on innovating and differentiating themselves on. You can pretty much look at any Android phone and immediately tell who makes it by just looking at the way it’s built. *THIS* is where they should be differentiating themselves on.
The OEM’s are not software experts. If they were, they wouldn’t be using Android. They would instead have made their own OS from scratch. Google made a great mobile OS; one that can compete with the iPhone. That is why they are using it. In my very honest opinion, the OEM’s lost their ability to differentiate themselves in the software space by adopting an external OS. How many people do you know say “I can’t wait to get that MotorBlur phone!”? The answer is 0. People want an Android phone. They want to own a device that is part of the Android ecosystem, not a device that tries to invent its own platform.
The quicker the OEM’s realize that, the better off they will be.
I love my Motorola Droid (and Google Android), but I kept having a small issue: All my Google Searches were saved. That is, every time I went to perform a Google Search, the Google suggestions would show my previous search queries. I personally dislike this behavior, since it consumes screen real estate from the search suggestions. (I even disable the “remember form data” feature on my PC’s browser.)
Here is a picture of the problem:
If you click on the “Clear History” link, you get this pop-up:
The pop-up states: “Go to Preferences for more options.” For the longest time, I kept thinking it was a browser setting (even though the “Remember form data” option is disabled). But then it occurred to me: It’s a not a browser setting, it’s a website setting. Indeed, Google’s mobile search site has an option for saving mobile search history.
How to fix it?
Perform a Google search, and navigate to the bottom of the page. Click the “Preferences” link:
On the Preferences page, select the “Do not save searches” button, and then click “Save”:
And that’s all there is to it!