Why you should give up the stock Android dream

Stock Android running on every Android device ever created! What a dream. This is a dream that lots of Android fans have had. In a lot of articles, you'll see at least one comment asking for stock Android on the device that is mentioned in the post. There was a time when I had this dream too, but over time I gave it up, and realized that the only way to get stock Android out of the box was getting a Nexus device. The reason I don't think this will happen is because I have seen an company which did this with their OS, without any good results: Microsoft with Windows Phone.

Till date, every Windows Phone that had ever been released has the same interface, because Microsoft doesn't allow the manufacturer to change the OS at the core level. Where has this led to? No differentiation. By this point it has been proven multiple times that many regular customers choose there phone based on the buzz, reception and most importantly, ads (which usually show off some software features). This strict attitude by Microsoft has led Nokia to start differentiating through hardware (mostly cameras).

Meanwhile, on the Android side of things, manufacturers are allowed to show their talent in software as well as hardware. Notice that, a lot of Android manufacturers show off many software features in ads. Samsung shows off all the S-features, HTC shows off blinkfeed and zoe, LG shows off that Q-button (which is related to software) and the ability to have both camera's together. This proves that having completely stock Android on the device you manufacture won't allow for much differentiation. Apple also showed off Siri as the main selling point of 4S and as far as I can tell, it worked.

This year, many reviewers have been saying that skins like TouchWiz, Sense etc. are more of their OS's than a skin. This allows for differentiation and attracts different kinds of people. A simple example: a guy goes to get a phone. He's see's the S4, but doesn't like TW, he then see's HTC One and likes sense, so he ends up with a Android phone. But if a guy see's a Nokia Lumia and doesn't like it, he won't be getting a Windows Phone because they all have the same interface.

I think the lesson to learn here is that all these skins are there for a purpose. Having stock Android everywhere would not benefit anyone other than a few passionate fans. On the other hand, MS should consider opening up that option for WP, maybe that's what they've been missing all this time, maybe this might get WP going.