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Motorola Wants to Stay Close to Stock Android, Verizon and Other Carriers Want Skins

Once Google finally signed all the papers to acquire Motorola officially, we all had high hopes and dreams for what the company could accomplish with the owner of Android behind them. The new RAZR line is certainly a nice start, and Blur even got dumbed down a little bit, but people are still wondering “why didn’t they ship with stock Android now?” Speaking to reporters last night, a Motorola executive said there is one thing that stops them from pushing 100% stock:  carriers. 

Motorola Senior Vice President, Rick Osterloh had a few words about Motorola in general last night. Inevitably, the conversation lead to Google’s acquisition and the changes that it has brought. This was his answer on being asked about shipping devices with stock Android:

Going forward, we’re going to try to be as close to the base as we can be, because we think that’s the right thing for users. We think users also want fast upgrades and upgrades for their phones over the long haul, so we’re going to be focus on that as well. It’s a little bit different than what a lot of OEMs are doing and certainly what Motorola did in the past, but going forward that’s going to be our strategy.

It sounds like Moto has certainly seen the light on how stock Android can be useful as far as quick upgrades and troubleshooting goes. But Osterloh went on to say that the carriers aren’t exactly in love with that idea, saying that “our partners sometimes want customizations.”

Motorola arguably wouldn’t be in the position they are now without Verizon and the DROID brand, but it sounds like Verizon and other partners of Motorola have a lot more say in the software of devices than we thought they did. What do you think? Should Motorola fight to have stock Android on their phones? Or should their be at least a little customization from each manufacturer to differentiate Android devices?

Via: The Verge

  • jab416171

    I thought the original (unskinned) Droid was extremely popular (one of the most?) with Verizon.

  • Pat Hamilton

    I always hope that one day Google will announce that they have secretly been building a complete wireless network of their own.

  • guest

    When are you guys going to learn that most people like the variety of the manufacturers skins. Only the Google crazies like you believe that there is only one “pure” operating system. That it is better than every other option and that it can do no wrong. Well you guys and all the isheep. Personally I like the options of having multiple systems to choose from. I have liked HTC Sense, and I don’t mind Samsungs Touch wiz. I dont like the idea of every Android phone having the same software, its too boring. Besides if you want pure vanilla Android get a Nexus , or root.

  • wm snyder

    Carrier’s need to give OEM’S their specs so there is no need to test them!

  • wm snyder

    I understand to differentiate from others but the final choice should be the customer’s.! Customization should be built in for nonrooters too as well as building your own sense or blur by selecting options…. Imbed this in android so updates are quick

  • ranlil

    Just be like A**le. you don’t see carriers having their with them.

  • I wish they would just let them theme and develop device specific apps. It would be great if Motorola for instance could just do some visual tweaks to differentiate to average customers and then repurpose the time spent on Blur to develop some awesome apps that could enhance your phone. These apps could then be sold on Play as free for Moto users but $.99 for others or something along those lines.

  • I think they should make a Note fighting Razr Nexus Maxx Fablet…Yes I know I spelled fablet wrong……And it should be called exactly how I just called it….

    • Justin Swanson

      I think the Koreans might disagree with Fablet… it is hugely successful across the pond.

      • If they can name a phone “Butterfly” (HTC is Korean right?) I’m sure they can call a phone “Fablet”

        • Justin Swanson

          FWIW, HTC is Chinese.

          • Kami3k

            Lol fool.

  • frankandsimple

    The problem is in this unholy nexus between carriers and phones that are tied to networks.. All OEMs should make their phones unlocked and sell it directly to the consumers… This is how it happens in most parts of the world.. and then you’ll see carriers stumbling over themselves to woo OEMs to make their phones compatible with their network.

    • wm snyder

      Amen amen amen this person has a head on their shoulders! It is what needs to be done. But how? That is the $271.5 billion dollar question! And to Futher your statement carrier’s would be competing for your business… And OEM, s would be trying to have the latest greatest tech to get you to buy theirs reasonable priced as well.

  • One of the main reasons iphone didn’t come to verizon sooner was because of apple’s refusal to allow verizon to mess with their “sacred” OS. if apple can do it, and nexus devices already exist, i feel like it shouldn’t be a problem to have more devices sans verizon bs.

  • DainLaguna

    i like the idea of being able to choose stock or not…but i still think skinned phones still have their place in this world…if everything is stock, it makes nexus devices seem a tad less appealing.
    id rather push for a nexus branded device on every major carrier that gets iphonesque upgrade treatment.

  • Ralph W

    I believe that the UI look, icons, etc shouldn’t be changed on Android phones. If OEMs were to just add extra features on their phones, such as customization settings and stuff like notification toggles, That’ll be nice

    • DemoManMLS

      I totally disagree with you. I should be able to customize my device that I own the way I want it which includes the UI look, icons, etc. Last time I checked its MY device. If you want to stick with whatever UI look they give you that’s your choice. As for me I like my device my way not the typical stock default way.

  • ryanallaire

    I think that users should have a choice to be stock or not, plain and simple…

  • The only way we’re going to get the Carriers to stop is for everyone to stand up to them. That means manufacturers and customers alike.
    Skins and apps should be an aftermarket thing if customers want them, not thrust upon us.

  • bmclamb_nc

    Why not just give the customer the option of reverting to a “more stock” version of Android after they make the purchase from the carrier? If you want all the customizations fine, if not fine.

  • desiman26

    Definitely Google and the OEM’s need to stand up to the carriers. Unfortunately I feel Google don’t have the same power as Apple has with it’s iPhone. The carriers know that people want the iPhone and would do anything to get it (We saw that when it was exclusively on AT&T). Google doesn’t have a phone like that. Maybe the GS3, but I don’t know if its at the same brand level. (By the way, I own a Galaxy Nexus, rooted and all. It was one of the best decisions I ever made).

  • Knlegend1

    On one hand I completely agree with the carriers because essentially it becomes like Windows and every phone is the same. But Motorola can become the standard as to what “android” is supposed to be and not some overhaul mess like touchwiz. I don’t think its too bad if it actually enhances the software. The updates now that’s another story and with that I’m behind Motorola 100%. I’m still not going to buy another Razr again HD/Maxx. Nexus for me.

    • bananatroll

      Yeah. The maxx hd is tempting… But with all the rumors flying around, we may see a motonexus of some sort by jan-feb or at the worst next xmas. Imma moto guy, so i’ll hold on to my razr till i see “it” come along lol.

      • Knlegend1

        I’m a moto guy myself but its time for a change.

  • ehuber

    Seriously! Google needs to shove it up Verizon’s butt and any other carrier that “requires” customized skins and only ship stock android A) because of less bugs and B) because of upgrades

  • NotRelevent

    If this was true (which I don’t think it is) then Verizon would’ve balked at stock ICS on the Galaxy Nexus, which they obviously didn’t since they are selling it. Once again more lies from Motorola.

    • jaxxmjd

      They did balk at the GNex. How many ads from Verizon did you see encouraging GNex sales? They were already too committed to bail completely, but I think they would’ve if they could’ve.

    • Verizon treated the Galaxy Nexus like a red-headed stepchild.

  • edmund75

    Stock all the way. There’s so much customization that you can do with stock.

  • bananatroll

    If Motorola simply stated “no more phone to Verizon until they say YES to Vanilla Android when we want it” this situation would change faster than a to go order at Little ceasars. No more motorola phones? yeah they would bend over for that request.

    • Knlegend1

      Oh they wouldn’t know what to do, because they pass on every great phone trying to keep the Razr devices the premium choices. Motorola should make them their bitches!!!

  • Prime7

    I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then, I’ll just be jumping from Nexus to Nexus.

  • jaymonster

    I really don’t have much issue with skins (bloatware is a whole other story) to “differentiate” the phone, so long as it stays close enough to stock that the upgrades can be done quickly after the new release. There is no reason that a “skin” has to be so deeply integrated that it takes six months (or more) to write the upgrade because the customizations need to be rewritten again for the new version.

  • Michael Lewis

    This is super news. I hope that more comapnies realize that skins should have nothing to do with updates and upgrades.

  • lgreg64

    Moto should just add a lot of widgets to give the look of custom.

  • Manny

    That’s all BS..If it wasn’t for The OG Droid and It’s stock android Verizon and Moto would be nowhere near the companies that they are today?

    • Bob G

      It is not, as you say, B.S.

      Think about it. Back then the OG Droid was the ONLY Android phone out there, so there was no need for differentiation demanded by the carrier. Once more than one Android phone hit the market on a wide and popular scale, Blur was demanded by Verizon and so began the skinning wars.

      • Stoker

        Nah. There were a good number of Android phones. They all just blew compared to the D1. Android was up to 2.x by the time of the D1, IIRC.

  • Jeff

    The one thing I have always liked about Apple and their OS is that it is the same across all devices and available to all devices (that will get the update) at the same time.

  • Patrick

    The customer should fight for it. If no one bought the SGSIII which is essentially the same phone as the Gnex and they only bought the Gnex VZW would see the light.

  • wickets

    As an aside on stock…..if stock is so great why are 3rd party launchers etc so popular? Companies should do what goog does now; sell through the carriers and also through the play store. if you want to but a stock moto, samsung, htc etc just call up the company’s ‘store’ and buy one. if you want a subsidized phone part of the subsidy is dealing with the ‘skins’

  • Jacob Svonavec

    I dont care if they are stock at all, just give me unlocked bootloaders so I can make it stock if I want to. I like that they are all different. Makes the Nexus all that much better! IMO

  • KreeTerry

    While I do love stock android, i think that OEM skins are beneficial in some ways. i think what moto has done with their version of ICS is a fair middle ground. They had certain features that are useful and help to differentiate them from other brands. And im ok with that as long as they dont go the HTC route and totally murder the beautiful design of ICS/JB.

  • Motorola:

    Dear verizon fu*kheads,

    We are no longer offering devices for sale to your company with custom modifications. From this point on all devices will ship with OEM android straight from mountain view. If this means the end of our long and mutually profitable business together, ATT has a standing offrer to take your place right away with double the device shipments per quarter. We will gladly continue our relationship with with the largest carrier in the nation but the above conditions must be met in order fullfill that.

    Thanks a bunch!


  • Moto should totally fight.

  • I predict that Google will come out with it’s own mobile carrier soon. Then I will switch. :3

  • Interesting that Microsoft can insist on stock OS but Google can’t.

    • David

      Google can, but it will go against the principle of open source.

      • According to the quotes in the piece, they can’t. The senior VP: “Our interest is to make it as close to Android as possible and generally we negotiate somewhere in the middle.”

  • Bryan

    He said “customizations”, not skins. Could he be talking about the bloatware? Why would Verizion care about the skin? Do they really dictate to Motorola that swiping left on the homescreen should bring up quick settings? I doubt it.

  • glenroy ellis

    that is why i will only buy nexus …or go back to BBX because paying 500$+ for a phone just to hope for an update …please

  • Al

    Stock android is fantastic but its the OEM’s skins that make android better not in the sense that they slow the operating system but that they give customers variation. Google has always been about choice. Keep stock and eventually all phones are equal, for that Google might as well use Motorola and make one line of phones. Its ridiculous that carriers have any say on how a company should make its own devices

    • RW-1

      IMHO, people are entitled to either use the skin, or not. Make the choice available.

      • Al

        That should and would be awesome. That definitely would be a step in the right direction.

    • Stoker

      Not really. With Android, customizations don’t have to be locked into the device. That’s the beauty of it, a bone stock Android install can be customized like crazy.

  • Philip A. Kaiser

    I don’t think this is about skins at all. When JB officially launched for the GNex via VZW, there was something mysterious in it that disabled all wifi-tethering apps. It was fixed later but any one of us that was running JB prior to that version had “zero” problems. I think they are trying to maintain as much control as possible with these devices and writing their code into the software updates is the way they do it. The skin is just a trojan horse. IMO

  • I find it astounding that Apple even when first starting out was able to tell the carriers that they either let them handle updates or do without their product, yet Android manufacturers can’t seem to do the same. With Android controlling such a large share of the market, and OEM skins getting OEMs in petent trouble, one would think that stock Android would become more prevalent, especially since it would be much easier and faster to ship updates.

  • Detonation

    Stock Android = faster/more OS updates = less people buying new phones to get the updates = less money for Verizon.

    Simple as that. Verizon isn’t in the business to support your current phone, they’re in the business to sell you a new one.

  • Stoker

    Just in case anyone is still on the fence: It’s official:
    The US Cell Carriers, as a whole, suck d*ck.

  • Um, Google saved Verizon’s ass. Not the other way around. they should have more clout, Google. Let’s remember without Android, Verizon would have been a tanking ship…

  • This is just silly, Google and Moto along with everyone else needs to take key from Apple with this one thing.
    Apple said a big f you to Verizon with the first iPhone for this reason. They wanted it to have bloatware (something carrier branded phones are very known for), and they wanted it to have the Verizon brand on it. Apple said NO this is our phone not yours.
    I just wish Google would have a back bone and make all the OEM’s to do the same.

    • Luxferro

      I can’t believe I am agreeing with an Apple comment. Apple also applies that method to their end customers too, until lack of desired features become a threat to their profits 🙂

  • kls1042

    I can understand carriers wanting to bundle their own junk… err I mean apps (vcast, etc) in hopes of generating revenue, but I don’t understand how they benefit from different interface skins. I just can’t think of the business justification.

    Phase 1. Custom skin
    Phase 2. ?
    Phase 3. Profit


    The only thing I have to add to any bloatware issue is this…if you put bloat in my phone that’s fine. Oh, i can’t delete the bloat as soon as i get home, i understand. Its a way to bring inextra money. What I ask is that they come on a timer. In other words, if I haven’t played beejeweled or NASCAR act they should be delete-able after 60 or so days.

  • Jon

    I gotta say, I have the Galaxy S3. I have tried no less than 7 different custom Roms for the S3. I always return to the TouchWiz Roms like BeansTown or JellyWiz. Samsung has outdone itself. They have somehow managed to make the fastest launcher I’ve yet to experience, and I’ve tried them all. Their additions such as screen swipe to take screen shot, and the smart stay, or direct call from SMS, are just great additions that once you get used to it’s hard to go without. Samsung also has the best weather widget hands down. Samsungs Camera app also blows away the stock Jelly Bean camera interface. So I hate to say it, but I’ve switched sides here to preferring Samsung’s rendition of Jelly Bean.

    Now Google is constantly updating things and that may change the equation soon, but I think as of right now, the best implementation of Jelly Bean is the TouchWiz implementation. The only glaring problem Samsung has is they somehow decided to not go with the simplistic drag and drop folder creation style of Jelly Bean stock. That’s a huge mistake and a pain in the ass.

    • muscal

      I completely agree with you. I was running CM10 on my Galaxy Nexus but since getting the S3 i see no reason to use anything but TouchWiz with the JellyWiz ROM. Although there are a few bugs with it still, they are being squashed out due to the large following of JellyWiz. I love the camera app and love the motion controls. incubus26jc has been doing a great job. Link to ROM for Verizon S3 owners; http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1853337

  • This is what I don’t get. If all manufacturers just STOP doing what the carriers say, what are the carriers going to do? Stop selling phones?

  • bikerbill12

    Stock stock stock

  • flosserelli

    Google makes the OS. Motorola, HTC, Samsung & LG make the devices. Period. The only elements that carriers should be given the option to change is carrier-specific apps such as My Verizon, NFL Mobile,

    • Paul

      Not giving them the choice for skins is kind of against the whole point though. What else should they lock down?

  • T4rd

    I’m getting my degree in Business just so I can infiltrate Verizon’s corporation and undermine all of these horrible policies =p. Viva la resistance!!

    • MisterFrancisco

      I shall join you!

  • Collin

    I think that, even if Motorola were to try to fight back, that Verizon isn’t likely to listen. It’s the customers (us) that need to take action. If every Verizon customer who visits this site were to call Verizon and tell them that this decision isn’t what we (their customers) want, then maybe, just maybe, they will start to take notice.

    • Boner

      We are the 1%.

      • mustbepbs

        Sage words from the nether region.

      • Nathan

        I’m sure the soon to be American’s back in the 1700s thought the same thing! Let’s do this!

    • Philip A. Kaiser

      Not to be a smartass, but how many of their customers complained about unlimted data going away just to have them ignore those complaints. You think they are going to take notice over something as small as this?

      • RW-1

        You’re not a SA, the thing is that complaints won’t do it, it will take a finincial lesson, meaning a loss of renewed contracts to make these $$$ grubbing vultures realize that their customer base means business.

        • Philip A. Kaiser

          Agree. And when people start simply going elsewhere when competitors networks get better, it will be too late.

  • Keep it 100% stock Android but allow for custom apps that don’t tie into customizing the OS and the splash screen to be carrier specific. No other customizations should be allowed period. This will allow much faster deployment of updates/upgrades when a new version of Android comes out. But sadly I have purchased my last Motorola device. I own an Electrify and I get no ICS or JB so Motorola gets no more money from me. My next device will be a Nexus device period.

  • Pedro

    Wait, what??

    Motorola is actually trying to blame the carriers for their business decisions?

    • thebruce44

      Did you read the article?

  • mustbepbs

    Old news :/ I haven’t noticed it as much as I have been now. Read this on a few news sites already. Maybe I should move across the country.

  • Paul

    Things are going to start slowing down hardware wise soon. It will be harder to make processors faster and more efficient and people won’t want screens that are any bigger.

    Carriers are going to want software upgrades as a reason to keep getting a new phone soon.

  • RW-1

    I agree, total BS. Carriers need to be doing only one thing, providing the network service to the devices, and it should be a pay for past usage each month as well, not this game of “How much do you think you’ll use each month?” We don’t guess how much electricity, nor water, and neither should we for data… an overahaul of this system of gouging needs to be mandated by congress hehehe.

  • wait for the next version of Android, which may possibly have the option to turn off the skins. It will make everyone happy.

    • Southrncomfortjm

      I think that was just a hoax.

    • If you want like HTC to release something like that, It will have to boot 2 different OSs. Your 16GB internal storage device will actually have like 9GB remaining

  • Ibrick

    Why not meet in the middle with some simple themeing instead of full blown framework changes. Maybe give an option of turning said theme on and off?
    That way carriers can show customers all the pretty colors when trying to sell a device and then the customer can remove it when they walk out of the store.

  • Kyle

    Google, you need to stand up for yourself, put Verizon and other carriers in their place. It is time.

    • Is this really shocking news? If anything I applaud Motorola for
      stripping it skin off as much as possible. All they add is crappy
      wallpapers, bloatware and some tweaks to satisfy its carriers. If you
      think Motorola can tell carriers what to do your crazy. Motorola has no
      stronghold on the mobile market and Google is still selling its software with or without skins.

    • Boner

      Maybe, if Google were to talk with all major OEMs and boycot VZW until they cave in, VZW will listen. I can’t see VZW being ok with no longer having any android phones. It’s a risky move, but it can happen.

      • Yea, boycotting the largest US mobile operator sounds like a good business plan. Give them more reasons to buy an iPhone.

        • Dave

          And don’t forget they would bolster Windows Phone 8. I could see Verizon putting their marketing power behind a new OS to spite Google if they try a power play.

          • fierywater

            From the looks of it, Verizon might be doing that anyways. They can’t be happy about Samsung muscling them into an unbranded undifferentiated Galaxy S3.

      • Trevalyon

        Google doesn’t control Android phone markets… OEM’s do. Google has been rekindling their relationship with multiple manufacturers to oust some of the control away from carriers, but ultimately, there’s only so much they can do, simply developing the OS.

        • Howard Chu

          If Samsung can do it, then Google+Moto should be able to do it too. “F#ck you. It’s our hardware and our OS, we will sell it the way we want, to whoever we want. And if any of our customers want to activate on your network you’re just going to have to do it. So STFU.” VZW will have to just meekly say yes, or watch customers go to AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

    • Colin Gray

      I whole heartily agree with Kyle. Google put Verizon in its place. They can NOT stay alive without Android.

    • Edwin M

      I agree, Google needs to put these carriers on notice. Do you think this stuff flies with Apple? What if Verizon made Apple skin iOS?

      • chaosrv

        How can google put a carrier on notice? They cannot stop anyone from using their OS – it is open source. The only thing Google can do is restrict their access to the google apps & search. Fine, say they do that – in swoops Nokia to handle the maps, another vendor for email etc… The only ones that would win would be the carriers because they can get exactly what they want. Google loses the revenue from the apps/search, developers lose because fragmentation would start running wild and we lose because we don’t get the google experience, we have no way of knowing if an app will work on our phone or not – dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

        • chaosrv

          Oh and we’d all have to live with Bing for search.. do any of us really want that? No, of course we don’t.

        • Manny

          This is not true Moto made verizon and verizon made moto.. they both needed each other with att kicking verizon’s ass and apple doing the same to moto. Google and Moto need to take a page from Apple’s book and shove a stick in verizon’s !@#@$

          • That’s before VZW or any other carriers had the iPhone and long before Windows was trying to get back into market. They needed something to rival ATT and Apple. Things have changed.

          • michael arazan

            But Verizon could easily stop selling motorola phones to make their point if Google pushed them, and then Google could sell them in the play store at full price and w/o subsidies and will sell less. People could still get them activated at Verizon because they can not turn away people with phones that’ll work on their network in the contract they signed with the fcc. But it would damage motorola or free it up to go exclusive with other carriers. IMO Google should take a chance and leverage Moto against Verizon.

        • DiamondDave

          Nice Ghost Busters reference!!!

        • Stewie

          Google doesnt – the OEM does – Take the phone as we designed it – stock, or don’t. When they don’t and customers leave ….

      • jonny6pak

        To be fair, Apple only has one top-tier phone, with previous versions of the phone being the budget models. Android, on the other hand, comes on a number of different devices. Absent customization, there’s not much an OEM can do to create value-add differentiation. (Value add being some sort of custom feature the VZ reps can tout as a reason why one phone is better than another when they have the same exact specs.) A lot of the customizations don’t always turn out to be useful, but that’s not the point. The point is being able to sell a lot of units from multiple OEMs without the customer perceiving all the phones as being the same. Since most customers aren’t geeks like the rest of us, it works.

        • mx

          How about taking another que from Apple and differentiating on build quality and design? One of the only reasons I’m hesitating to switch to Android for phone use is the low quality of most of the hardware. Design wise, the One X is nice, but I’ve heard too many horror stories about the build quality of HTC devices to go there. Samsung and Motorloa are both seriously lacking in design (for my tastes). I would LOVE to get a well built, nicely designed Nexus phone, but after several years now, I am still waiting.

          • what part of the design is so bad that you wont get the phone? The samsung galaxy nexus was performed just perfect imo with the exception that its TOO THIN. I had to put a case on it just to hold it.

      • FknTwizted

        lol Apple, customized. damn you I really love drinking my chocolate milk and now i know what it really smells like… dayum you!!!

        • Edwin M

          I know I made myself chuckle as i wrote it.

    • TheDrunkenClam

      I’d tell them if we can’t put stock on our devices, then we won’t be doing business with you.
      But let’s not forget, that the people who blindly buy this garbage has always been a big part of the problem. As long as people keep buying it, they’re going to want to sell it.
      That’s why I’ll have my Galaxy Nexus until another bone stock android device lands on VZW. I don’t care how long I have to wait. I refuse to support skins with my wallet.

    • Adam

      Google should just start their own wireless network, so they can do whatever they want without all of the limitations.

      • I’ve long thought they should have bought T-Mobile. Half the work would already be done by having a network and user base in place. Granted they would need to do a lot of infrastructure, but that would be a great place to start.

    • Kyle Miller

      I agree with myself as well 😉

  • Stewie

    Bull$hit, pure, unmitigated total Bull$hit. It’s time that Moto grew some balls, tell VZ once again how to stuff it, the phone comes stock, take it or leave it. A few contract cycles of this and VZ will fall back in line, because the customers who would lose out on the devices would leave.

    • Elliot

      Really? Have you seen Motorola’s share of the smartphone market, and their profitability in that area? Verizon is by far the largest client for Motorola, they lose Verizon, it’s a critical blow. I’d rather see more stock Android (with maybe a couple of things that actually add something, like Motocast and Smart Actions) but that’s not realistic for Motorola.

      • RW-1

        Really, wouldn’t happen, as VZ also has the largets moto base period, see what happens if all of them clamor for why VZ doesn’t have that phone, and at the next EOC exodus, vZ learns lesson financially, which BTW is the only way to can teach that monster.

        • Elliot

          Verizon is extremely profitable, Motorola isn’t; Verizon is the number one carrier in the US, Motorola is struggling as a manufacturer. Verizon might lose a few customers, but Motorola loses a *huge* buyer base.

          Verizon can deal with Motorola not doing business with it (pretty easily actually, they just start getting more devices from HTC, Samsung, and LG; and those three will have no problem selling more devices to VZW). Motorola, on the other hand, has no real way to increase their sales to other carriers; AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have no real reason to buy more devices from them if there isn’t a larger demand in Motorola phones (which, as long as Samsung is the juggernaut in Android phones, that won’t happen).

          Motorola needs Verizon more than Verizon needs Motorola, and that’s a fact.

  • CheeseMcGee

    Android is all about choices, and that’s what I love about it. I like the idea that all phones would ship with the vanilla base, but have an easy “Theme switcher” for those that want use a particular skin.

    As someone who likes to tweak his own device (here come the perv comments), I like to customize the crap out of my phone, but some people want a simple skin even if it degrades the quality of the experience. If that’s what they want, cool, but don’t limit me bro!

    If Moto were to start that trend, and tell the carriers to screw off, I’d hop back on board.

  • sirmeili

    It Amazes me that after all the success that Verizon had with the original Droid that they would want to force skins. I understand wanting to have each handset “stand out” individually through the skin, but at the same point, being able to say “they all look and operate the same” has got to be a huge selling point when going from handset to handset (upgrades, downgrades, etc).

  • Greg Morgan

    I understand OEM’s wanting to differentiate themselves from other OEMs. But Carriers dictating this is just wrong. I honeslty don’t see Google releasing another Nexus on Verizon. Too much bull crap to put up with from them.

  • Booyah

    Moto + Nexus (Stock Android) = Everything Awesome

  • dwm

    I’ve owned 2 Android phones and one Android tablet so far, and all have been stock Android phones (OG Droid, Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom). I feel that stock is the way to go and “customizations” are only opportunities to break things. That and all of the “skins” are hideous compared to stock Android.

  • Southrncomfortjm

    I say Google works to make that false customization center rumor a reality. After owning a Nexus, I love stock Android (well, a rooted and ROM version of stock Android).

    The one thing stock Android is really missing is superior camera software. I really think the GNEX camera is decent with the software being the thing that is really holding it back.

    • wheineman

      Agreed 100%. Make skins into plugins! Allow users to remove them entirely! Then everybody is happy. Normal people get skins, we get no skins, the carrier is happy, moto sells phones, and updates come from Google on time (and are properly integrated with the plugins/skins)

      • Adam Emshwiller

        the problem that i see with this would still be at the OTA update level. If the phone is released with JB and the associated Skin, all is good if that “plugin” applies.. The customer would turn off the Skin and experience the stock JB UI. Then say Google releases Key Lime Pie… in your theory the phone should receive the KLP update because we have chosen to deactivate the “skin plugin”…. however, the Manufacturer/Carrier has not be able to update their Skin to KLP standards. This would cause friction inside the phone and most likely total collapse of the “plugin” function because you’d have a JB Skin trying to operate on a KLP system. Effectively, we would still be waiting for the Manufacturer to update their Skin to KLP, THEN they would release the OTA update. At that time, you would then simply choose to deactivate the KLP Skin and go back to stock KLP UI. This doesn’t really help the problem of getting updates out faster… it just gives one level of chose when they do get released. (which i agree is a great theory, it just has some kinks in it).

        • wheineman

          In my theory (which is batshit crazy!), Google provides an API for building ‘Android Skins’. A skin would function independently from the OS. The OS could be updated to any future version, and features of the skin would continue to use the API to function. That way the entire OS could be updated, and the skin would still work properly. If the API were to change during an OS upgrade, only that particular feature would default to stock functionality.

          This fits very well with the current Google model of moving all functionality into a seperate App which gets updates from the Play Store.

    • Paul

      I’d like everything to go stock, but for Google to buy out some ideas in skins from all the manufacturers for new android versions – especially HTC’s camera software.

    • Bryan

      The ironic thing in your statement of “I love stock Android (well, a rooted and ROM version of stock Android)” is that you are basically saying you like a skinned version of Android. The customizations of Android in the ROMS is still technically a skinned version. You just happen to like their level of skinning.

  • Soca Daddy

    Make the skin a selectable option.

    • Capt. Crunch

      Exactly, some people actually like some of these skins. For example I love how my RAZR Maxx looks, but that’s just me.

    • Once again that is customizing and takes too long. 100% Stock for faster roll-outs!

      • lvlorpheus

        I think what Soca Daddy is saying is to have something like a two part update. Android should make it the standard. Here is your new Motorola, HTC, Samsung, LG, whatever android phone with stock Ice Cream Sandwich. If you would like you can go to your settings and install the manufacture skin and bloat your carrier demands be part of the skin, or if you just want individual features like My Verizon app to monitor your data usage you can install that from the market. Then Google requires that updates be pushed to every eligible phone within two months of Nexus devices receiving updates. So here comes your Jelly Bean stock update. Then manufactures and the carriers can update their skins and bloat on whatever time frame they want. If your manufacture/carrier has not or does not want to push the skin/bloat and you want a skinned phone you can either not take the Jelly Bean update or you can downgrade back to Ice Cream Sandwich skinned and bloated.

        That would push manufactures to build high quality hardware and use top notch materials as well as general designee to differentiate their device. It would also push the manufactures/carriers to produce their skins/bloat in a timely fashion. The manufactures/carriers don’t have to push build quality and skinned/bloated updates if they don’t want to. That can be a price point and a customers choice on how much they want to spend on a new device.

        If that is not what you meant Soca Daddy I am sorry, but that is what I thought you were trying to say. Either way this is how I have thought it should be for a long time.

        • Good ol’ JS

          It’s a good idea and probably what most of us Android enthusiasts have been wishing for. It won’t happen any time soon if at all but it’s what a lot of us want.

    • Good ol’ JS

      It’s not just a skin. This is the problem. A skin suggests that you’re changing the overlay, swapping icons etc. Sense, Touchwiz, and Blur(and whatever LG uses) are UI’s. You can change the launcher to something that acts like stock but these UI’s are ingrained in the O/S itself. That’s why they take the performance hit, and that’s why making them selectable isn’t an option. It’s either stock Android, stock with add-on launcher and customized individual apps for messaging etc, or continue with the UI’s the way they exist today.

  • Mordecaidrake

    I don’t get it, the skins are awful.

    • fixxmyhead

      again thats ur opinion

  • nightscout13

    Google, go talk to Apple, find out how they are able to enforce stock UI.

    • Collin

      It’s because they use only their own hardware and everything is locked down.

    • iOS is not open source. And there is only one piece of hardware. Though I have no idea how they get away with no pre-installed Verizon apps.

      • MikeSaver

        Maybe because they sell trillions of phones so they got some leverage

    • Paul

      And how many manufacturers make iphones? Do you know what an iphone is?

      • nightscout13

        Your hatred for Apple is preventing you from seeing the point. I don’t like Apple as a company, as much as the next guy. But Think about it, how is it that the iPhone gets to keep same UI across all carriers, and has no bloatware to the extend that we do? I think Apple stood solid, and refused. Whereas Android OEM’s gave in to the carriers.

        • Paul

          Apple only made one UI for one phone which they control the manufacturing of. This is a completely different situation. There also isn’t a carrier specific UI for androids either – it’s a manufacturer thing.

          • nightscout13

            Actually, that’s false. Different carriers have different version builds, along with different kernels, the ROM’s are not interchangeable. Say for example, a AT&T GS3 stock ROM will not work on a VzW GS3.

          • Paul

            That’s due to drivers. The hardware is different between carriers because of the differences in signal type. The interface itself is the same.

          • The technology differences are largely limited to the radio. The hardware drivers, in theory, should be identical. The “android” piece of the phone’s software could be made interchangeable if they so desired.

    • My guess is because Apple is a big enough company that selling the iphone on verizon helped verizon as much as Apple. With Motorola, as much as I love their phones, can’t say the same as Apple. Verizon can always just sell Samsung, HTC, LG, etc but doesn’t need Motorola as much as Motorola needs Verizon. Verizon has the upper hand in this deal and we all lose apparently.

  • whosinaname

    I don’t need carrier customizations. That is what widgets are for. Beautiful Widgets, Nova Launcher, and many others give me what I want on my phone, not what a carrier says I want.

  • Sven Enterlein

    Wow. Just Wow. Of course the carriers want to bloat the phones with their crApps to lure people into subscribing and sharing their information. Another reason to go off-contract!

    • There is difference between skins (Touchwiz, Sense, Motoblur) and bloatware apps. I’d be fine with bloatware apps. At least they can be disabled. But it’s the skins that CANNOT be turned off that ticks me off.

      • fixxmyhead

        but i actually like the skins

        • Not A Name

          Honest question here, but why? Is it because that is what you are used to? To me all skins, arguably new blur is ok, are cluttered, look worse than stock, and offer things I could use apps in the play store for. I understand the average user wouldn’t care, but to me, I prefer stock android. Always have always will.

          • fixxmyhead

            cuz stock simply doesnt offer somethings that skins do thats why its a skin to better the experience and i dont wanna download like 20 extra apps from the play store i like my rom slim. the look is subjective, i think the new touchwiz looks slick and clean and it even has holo accents too to try to make it ics’ish. its like a holo UI but “brighter” i cant explain it but if u seen the new one its holo but instead of having dark themes it has white brighter archaic holo theme.

          • DBK

            Skins only change the look of the OS. They don’t add anything new to it, They simply present the features or perform functions differently. And they interfere with updates. You might like how your phone looks, but you’ll be stuck on an older version of Android because of how long it would take to get an update. Better to offer them as themes that can be easily changed rather than integrating into the OS.

            Or do what Moto is trying to do and minimize the skin as much as possible.

          • fixxmyhead

            uhmm the skins add feature its built into there framework. if it only changed the look then i would be able to install touchwiz apps on stock but thats not the case. the samsung (killer) video player wont install on stock it only works with tw.

        • fixxmyhead

          wow downvoted cuz i like skins. stock fanboys hating lol

          well i guess thats expected in the world of android where its “nexus of gtfo” lame motto

        • Ben Johnson

          I don’t think any of us care if you like the skins. Sure some of the features they add are nice (samsung’s multi window stuff). But they are proprietary, massively delay base OS updates, and many of them also cause the phone to lag like crazy or add other issues.
          We would simply like the option of going “stock.”

        • Anon

          Then keep yours. That doesn’t mean that users shouldn’t be given the option to uninstall a skin from their phone.

          I have no problem with skins if a) it doesn’t slow the flow of timely Android updates to a phone, and b) the consumer is given the option to uninstall the skin. Neither of these are happening.

      • Sven Enterlein

        I guess I got that wrong; thanks for pointing it out! But don’t skins and bloatware usually go hand in hand?

        • Not necesssarily. The Verizon Gnex has bloatware apps, but it’s running pure stock Android. The only reason bloatware and skins usually show up together is because OEMs and carriers want to differentiate their phones and make money. OEMs do it with skins and their custom features/apps. Carriers do it with bloatware apps that cost money to use.

  • ddevito

    Preaching to the choir.


  • Wesley Kenyon

    I remember when their old CEO thought blur was the answer to all android problems. Clearly not anymore.

  • And then they blame the manufacturers for delays in updates, when it was the customizations they demanded causing it.

  • frankandsimple

    Wow… Carriers should be bending over backwards to woo manufacturers to sell their brand names under their flag. Verizon should be slapped around a bit and taught a lesson.. I don’t know how.. but Verizon & ATT are simply greedy pigs and I hate them.

    • wheineman

      Why would they bend? If you don’t sell your device to Verizon or ATT, you are SCREWED! The carrier holds all of the power.

      • ericsf8

        annoys the crap out of me that Apple’s Iphone is able to pull this off. It’s even UNLOCKED on Verizon. All the while us Android are forced to bend over.

        • Stewie

          That’s simply because our OEM’s are in bed with the carriers, they’re bitche$ … If they simply said here it is, take it or leave it, the carriers wouldn’t have a chance.

          • mx

            Microsoft would happily give them a choice.

      • Anon

        Handset makers should form an alliance. Together, they could make terms at a level that would force carrier cooperation; the only alternative would be for carriers to buy phone vendors themselves, which probably couldn’t happen due to antitrust.

        • Stewie

          You mean like the open handset alliance that failed?

      • frankandsimple

        That is soo not true. Example, Galaxy Nexus UNLOCKED is sold by Google Playstore and it can be used on GSM network around the world!

        • wheineman

          Yes. That is true, but how many people know about that? I bet that .0001% of Gnex owners got it from the Play Store. The rest got it from a carrier. People dont want to pay full price for a device.

    • TheWenger

      That would be ideal, but carriers (VZW and AT&T) are making huge profits while lots of OEMs aren’t. That puts the OEMs in the position of having to appeal to carriers.

    • EC8CH

      Holy Crap!

      I agree with you 😛

    • PhillipCun

      Motorola doesn’t have a flagship phone or any decent branding. The Galaxy S3 is the best known Andriod device and Samsung has been building that name for more than 3 years with many different phones and tablets. I don’t think Motorola has that power, they’re just not Apple (unfortunately). Every manufacturer should offer 1 flagship phone or line that consumers can easily identify and trust that if they pick that phone they will have one of the best phones that year. This is important because not everyone wants to do the research. The typical consumer want to be able to trust a name and stick with it. It is up to the manufacturers to be smart enough to do so. Once they achieve that, they can stick it to the carriers because it would be the carriers that need to woo the manufacturers.

      • frankandsimple

        But you see.. this is what I think is wrong. In the GSM world it is ALL about OEMs .. and carriers clamor to get people to buy the hottest phone and use it on their networks. This Nexus between carriers and phones that are tied to the network is a unholy one and should have never ever happened in the first place.