Can the old cliche of “you don’t know what you have until you lose it” be true even when it comes to manufacturer bloatware? In some cases, I think so. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ll still choose a stock Android phone over one with a manufacturer user interface (everything else being equal). However, actually making the switch from my Samsung Galaxy S (with the TouchWiz UI) to the Galaxy Nexus made me realize that I took a few things about the “bloatware” for granted.
For example, on my Galaxy Nexus (which is stock Android 4.0), I had a hard time finding myself a good stopwatch and timer app. Now, by good I mean both functional and visually appealing. I know that some of you couldn’t care less about the way an app looks so long as it works, but for me it is important. Maybe I just have a little OCD, but I really feel like an app should take advantage of and show off your phone’s beautiful screen in addition to being functional.
Another thing that I had trouble with was finding an LED flashlight app for my Galaxy Nexus. When I first got my Galaxy Nexus, almost every flash light app I tried had a five second delay from when I pressed the “on” button to when the LED actually turned on. When you use your phone as a flash light, your using it for convenience. And having to wait five seconds defeats that purpose. On my HTC Sensastion, there was a built in HTC flashlight app that worked instantly and even gave me the option for three different LED intensity levels. No app on Google Play lets me do this yet on my Galaxy Nexus.
Basically, my point is that having manufacturer bloatware on your phone can be a good thing sometimes. Apps like a stopwatch and timer, a flashlight, and a voice recorder are all preloaded on the phone. And best of all they are tested for that specific phone so you know they’ll work perfectly (where as downloaded apps are made for all Android phones). However, I did say sometimes. While I do enjoy the extra “value” that can come with having manufacturer UI’s and software on my phone, I don’t like the extra things they put on there that I personally just don’t need.
And it’s not the fact that they put it on there that frustrates me. It’s the fact that they don’t let you uninstall the app (with a few exceptions) that really gets under my skin. Thankfully, with Android we have the ability to root our phones and delete these preloaded apps and with the latest version (Ice Cream Sandwich) we don’t even have to do that. We can simply disable any app we’d rather not see take up space on our launchers. So as long as I can get rid off the apps/features I don’t want, I wouldn’t mind having a manufacturer UI overlay on my phone anymore. Would you?