Do you have an HTC phone? How about a Samsung or Motorola device? If so, a lot of you are familiar with the way manufacturers put their own overlays on user interfaces: HTC Sense, Motoblur, and TouchWiz are what I’m talking about here.
Today’s rant comes in by saying this: manufacturers need to back off on the custom UI overlays. I’m not saying I don’t like them. Heck, I do like at least one, HTC Sense. I have an HTC Hero, and I enjoy all the features that come with it, and think it’s great.That being said, I use a custom ROM that gives me a stock Android interface. What I have a problem with is the fact that manufacturers have a need to try and make these UI overlays mandatory. While I suppose it may be their choice to embed it so deeply on their devices, I feel that the manufacturers should make their overlays optional.
There are a couple of reasons I feel this should be done:
- UI Overlays delay the release of major Android updates. When a new update is available for Android, say, from 2.1 to 2.2, if you have a device using one of these overlays, you have to wait for the manufacturers to get the update and customize it to work with their proprietary UI. This forces consumers to have to live with bugs, device issues and speed lags even longer.
- Some consumers simply want the option to use vanilla (stock from Google) Android… myself included. I like the speed of it: much faster than the experience when using Sense. HTC Sense tends to eat up spare memory, and I’m not too keen on that.
Like I said, I’m not saying I don’t like these UI overlays. I simply think that the manufacturers should give users the options to shut off these overlays without having to hack their devices or download home screen replacements to do it. I know they’re probably just trying to keep us loyal, but hey – we already bought their device, shouldn’t that be enough? So, manufacturers, if you’re listening, take this to heart, and give us the freedom to choose what our open-source experience should look like.