Manufacturer skins have always been a divisive issue in the Android world. Early on they legitimately added depth and value to Android but as Android has matured, they have become more burdensome then helpful in many cases and users have begun to voice their opinion. Many manufacturers have recognized the change in mindset as of late and have begun scaling back their own skins. Motorola has been running near stock Android for some time while companies like HTC and Samsung have begun stripping down their software and making their services available through downloads.
Sony has always kept things relatively light and simple but they too are heeding the call for change and revamping their plans as well. Sony is launching a new initiative in Sweden called “Sony’s Concept for Android.”
As part of this, we’re launching a new initiative in Sweden to give 500 Xperia Z3 users the chance to try Sony’s Concept for Android – a concept operating system with a fresh take on our user experience based on Android 5.1, Lollipop. It has some significant differences compared to our current commercial releases, with a stripped back, vanilla Android look and feel, with native Sony features and apps we find most popular amongst our users.
In essence, Sony’s new concept offers pure Android with only Sony’s most popular and useful features and apps applied to the OS. I’m hopeful that this is well received by the testers and that Sony, as well as other manufacturers, adopt this model. It would create a much more unified Android experience for every day users while still allowing manufacturers to differentiate themselves with specific features.