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Android Software Hardware

Lenovo Switches To Stock Android For All Future Smartphones (ndtv.com) 80

Lenovo is canning its Vibe Pure UI Android skin in favor of the stock version of Google's mobile OS for its future smartphones, starting with the upcoming K8 Note, according to an interview from Gadgets 360 with Anuj Sharma, Lenovo India's head of marketing. From a report: Lenovo has confirmed that going forward, it will be abandoning its Vibe Pure UI Android customisation which ran on top of its recent Android smartphones in almost all markets. "What we have done in last 11 months is we looked at what we had in terms of software perspective. We have been close to the consumers and we saw what they were asking for. There was a certain trend and we have now decided to cut the Vibe Pure UI off from our phones. So you will now get the stock Android which consumers have been asking for," Sharma told Gadgets 360.
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Lenovo Switches To Stock Android For All Future Smartphones

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  • Translation (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Lenovo sees profits in Android shrinking, cuts costs.

    • Re: Translation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Friday August 04, 2017 @10:58AM (#54940323)

      I actually think this is one area where they listened to their customers AND were able to cut costs. Why did they spend money to alter the interface a la Samsung and wind up with an non-updatable mess. Samsung does it to fuck the customer into upgrades.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Listened to customers my foot.

        Android manufacturers can't differentiate themselves on hardware. The hardware and the suppliers are the same for everyone, and the market is absolutely saturated with every possible combination of hardware features at the top, bottom and everything in between range. Gimmicks like iris readers and fingerprint scanners don't seduce customers.

        The only place where they can actually differentiate is software. Samsung leads the pack here with custom software left and right. Lo and b

        • Re: Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Friday August 04, 2017 @12:51PM (#54941091) Homepage Journal

          >Android manufacturers can't differentiate themselves on hardware.

          Yes they can.

          Sim slots : More is better.
          Externally accessible storage slot : Have one or more.
          Headphone Jack : I hear they are popular among people with ears.
          Replaceable batteries : This is a no brainer.
          Bigger battery options : This is also a no brainer.
          Hardware credentials : MFA sucks without it.
          USB-C with full support for the power delivery specification : It's past time.
          Physical isolation for dual personalities (like for access to a work network).
          Stock Android is a good feature too, why don't more do it?

          • by hazem ( 472289 )

            Is there a manufacturer who does this list of things? I would really like the phone you just described.

            • Nope. Lenovo had the closest with multiple sim support and replaceable batteries.

              My iPhone 7+ has been bad enough that my next phone will be an android. The headphone thing was bad. Disabling my 3rd party headphone+charge adapter when I was travelling was the last straw.

              If anyone does a phone into which I can pop a couple of 18650s, I'll buy it.

          • A responsible Android OS vendor should:

            Provide five years minimum patch support, just like commercial Linux
            Supply an add-on browser based on Firefox Focus (or the Privacy Browser in F-Droid)
            The browser should integrate Tor, and be able to click into a fully-compliant Tor browser mode
            OS can run all device traffic through Tor
            OS wraps in Copperhead kernel and userspace changes
            OS includes AdAway (Google might refuse access to Play over this)

            HTC in particular is now doomed forever to second-best hardware si

          • Replaceable batteries : This is a no brainer.

            And yet, big Android manufacturers are going the Apple way on this one. First Samsung, now LG. It seems like customers don't really care.

            • Replaceable batteries : This is a no brainer.

              And yet, big Android manufacturers are going the Apple way on this one. First Samsung, now LG. It seems like customers don't really care.

              I think it's more like customers will put up with quite a lot of crap in order to have an otherwise top end phone. Choosing devices that have these utility features seems to always be a compromise on some other vector, like the software or CPU or storage or screen or radio or something else. I am no exception with my iPhone 7+, but the headphone and adapter situation means my next phone will be an Android. I went from a long line of Android phones to the iPhone 6S+ just to see what it's like on the other si

          • by Alok ( 37687 )

            Headphone Jack : I hear they are popular among people with ears.

            You could've gone for Funny, but it had to get drowned out in a useful post :-)

        • A fight to the bottom in software quality is not going to differentiate them in a good way. At least "standard" is not worse than standard.

          How about customer service?

          Or the could give us

          • Removable standardised size batteries
          • 3.5mm Headphone jacks
          • SD card slots - preferably at least two
          • USB with OTG using a connector at least two other manufacturers use
          • A promise to release the hardware interface details as soon as they stop supporting the device themselves.
          • Decent sound quality and volume
          • Waterproof (well
        • I really like Samsung hardware but I refuse to buy a Samsung phone due to the software and I have no interest in messing around with rooting and custom firmwares anymore. Samsung with stock Android would be awesome.
        • It is very hard to differentiate a phone based on hardware, but Samsung does it. They certainly aren't selling phones based on the strengths of their software.

          But their interface is indeed different. As far as software is concerned, the difference between Lenovo and Samsung is that Samsung hasn't been forced to admit that their software is crap. Maybe it's deeper pockets, maybe it's managerial tenacity, or maybe they are serious about maintaining a a unique interface they can use to maintain continuity i

      • Lenovo isn't Apple or Samsung. The two brands that they are most well known for are the Yoga, and the ThinkPad.

        The ThinkPad brand is more known for quality vs Innovation (Being true or not is open to interpretation). While the Yoga was an innovative design, we havn't seen much more from Lenovo other than basic upgrade to it.

        For Lenovo phones, people are not going to be showing off their fancy lenovo phone, but use them in a more piratical purpose. So it makes sense to use generic Android, because people ar

      • Besides, why would Android phone makers need to apply their own 'skins' to the phones? That's reminiscent of the Windows 3.1 days when companies like Compaq and HP would insert their own UI utilities to beautify Windows, w/ things like HP's Dashboard. Android's UI - at least the one in Lollipop - is pretty good: not sure what the newer ones in 6 & 7 look like.

        The best thing that phone makers can do is ensure that their storage is nothing less than 64GB: that ought to be the minimum. After that, hav

      • Samsung does it to fuck the customer into upgrades.

        Poppycock. The smartphone is an area where differentiation is incredibly difficult. They do it to create a brand identity independent of Google as well as add features that aren't present in the default Android system (though they do work their way in eventually).

        This is also nothing to do with Samsung since nearly every major manufacturer applies a lot of customization to their phone. Samsung even for several years offered 2 variants of their phones with a Google play edition with stock Android on it ....

    • Lenovo sees profits in Android shrinking, cuts costs.

      Maybe, but many of us who use android hate the customizations done by handset manufacturers. It's why so many people went to the trouble of installing 3rd party operating systems. I can't adequately explain my disdain for the bixby virus that I've got on my Galaxy S8+. I guess that's my bad for not doing research before buying an upgrade this year.

      Honestly I had no idea lenovo made cell phones. Now that I know they're making them with stock android they will definitely be on my list to check out befor

      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        They may have the stock android ui, but do they use the stock android kernel?
        You may find that they still require closed source drivers, and thus cannot be upgraded.

        Also as bad as manufacturer versions of android are, the carrier versions are even worse...

    • far more likely, they want a secured system, just like their customers want.
  • Customizations can be downloaded separately.

    Any of their phones have removable batteries?

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Friday August 04, 2017 @11:02AM (#54940377)

      Customizations can be downloaded separately.

      Any of their phones have removable batteries?

      All phones have removable batteries, they just vary on the effort required to remove them.

      • by c ( 8461 )

        All phones have removable batteries

        I think there's a tipping point where the process is more like removing the phone from the battery than the battery from the phone...

    • My Lenovo has a removable battery and two sim sockets. I use it for travel in Asia. The UI is horribly messed up though. They are right to dump their stupid bloatware.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wish more android manufactures would do this. I want great hardware with stock android! This should also allow them to keep their devices updated faster and easier.

    • Android was suppose to be Windows for the Mobile. Where the OS and the software are more or less the same on every device. In essence an Android phone is the equivalent of the PC White Box of the lat 1990's.
      However device manufactures, are trying to be the next Apple. However there is already an Apple, and they are trying to avoid on being the next Compaq->Gateway2000->Dell. Where they may get a boost then drop off the radar.

       

  • Why let a product die? Put your "Vibe Pure" on Github, and let F-Droid package it for you.

  • I'd be glad if they switched to LineageOS or even became a patron to this Android fork.

    Pure Android (even version 8.0) is still very limited.

  • by ITRambo ( 1467509 ) on Friday August 04, 2017 @11:08AM (#54940427)
    It's about time. I wish all smartphones stopped adding bloat, but made their UI options available for download for anyone that preferred them.
  • by m0gely ( 1554053 ) on Friday August 04, 2017 @11:09AM (#54940429)
    I've never understood the time and resource investment made into duplicate functionality. If it was an improvement over stock it could be understandable, but most of the time it seems at best the no compelling change, just different, and often worse. Does less in some important way, or looks/functions amature like. I already have a firewall. I already have a calendar, email app, photo manager, diaper, whatever. These companies spend millions over time reinventing the wheel. People just download the gmail app anyway. Don't use their sync, use ours! Sheesh.
    • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Friday August 04, 2017 @11:28AM (#54940555)

      I suspect that manufacturers consider this a part of branding. They want something that sets their phones apart from other Android phones, and the most visible differentiator is a different UI.

      • A large concern is if you do anything Google doesn't like, they can refuse to licence you the 'premium' apps.
        Meaning, your new phone doesn't have the google apps your users actually demand.
        This means, that if you don't have a set of fallback apps, negotiations with google are really problematic.

        https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/googles-iron-grip-on-android-controlling-open-source-by-any-means-necessary/ - related.(it's got worse since 2013)
      • Branding is totally unnecessary when you produce a superior product.
        • What is a superior product? Hardware that can't be used because Android support for it is not available?

          The software is part of their product and a lot of devices have advertised and differentiating features in their custom Android builds.

      • I suspect that manufacturers consider this a part of branding.

        Undoubtedly. However, nobody buys a Lenovo phone for the custom user interface. We want the hardware and a stock, unlocked Android.

      • Yes, but they were spending money to SUBTRACT value from their products. The "differentiation" was that their phones were worse the those running stock Android. It feels so good when you stop banging your own head against the wall.
    • but most of the time it seems at best the no compelling change

      Most of the time you're not looking at the features they added. Fingerprint support ... yeah part of default Android right? Except my phone has a fingerprint reader too and it's old enough that it isn't even upgradable to the first version of Android that had fingerprint support.

      If you dig into the OS you'll find more than just a custom skin, but rather a very different OS with customization across all levels for everything from features of the hardware, software features that add support for more hardware

  • In other news... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Lenovo makes Android SmartPhones!

  • If feedback from their customers says they want a stock UI, then it's just good business sense to give your customers what they want. Also, they should offer their own UI, IF THE CUSTOMER wants to install it. I wish more vendors would do this, but, bloat is what they want to "enhance your user experience" ie: piss you off.
  • Samsung's is slightly better at least but all the options are rearranged, renamed, or even missing altogether. LG phones even have annoying default apps that wake your phone screen to notify you, no way to disable, draining the battery all day and causing inadvertent button presses when in your bag or pocket.

    I switch to Lineage on my devices but others are afraid it will screw up their carrier access or are worried of voiding warranty, I feel bad about what they have to put up with. Guess I'll be pointing t

    • I switch to Lineage on my devices but others are afraid it will screw up their carrier access or are worried of voiding warranty, I feel bad about what they have to put up with. Guess I'll be pointing them to Lenovo phones now.

      Motorola also ships stock Android, plus a couple of bundled apps. At least, that's how my Moto G 2nd came, it's been a while since I bought a new phone. The bundled apps are actually potentially useful, although you can get better apps which do the same things.

  • They will still fill the phone with crapware.
    • To be honest, I got a Moto G (I think it's the 4th generation) for my wife and it was surprisingly lean. Not even a "standard" photo viewer program (it has Google Photos). Very fast. No single one crapware.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I didn't even know Lenovo made phones! But if they are willing to sell stock Android without bloat, they are now fairly high as my next possible phone manufacturer. Getting fed up with Samsung trying to turn my phone into an advertising device.

  • So, even as an iPhone user with no dog in this fight, I think this will be a very good thing for their customers, IF it results in Lenovo phones actually getting Updates and Security Patches in a timely manner.

    However, now Lenovo has to convince whatever Carriers they are in a devil's bargain with to follow suit, and keep from slathering on THEIR bullshit on top of that pristine Android build, and ruining one of the greatest advantages of Lenovo's sudden outbreak of common sense.

  • I wish Samsung would get this message as well. They make great phones, but they then load the phones with their crappy software. Just not worth the price. Give me stock Android, and let me install my own customizations.

    Frankly, I wish Google would get this message too. I also don't want most of the (uninstallable) Google apps.

  • Good, let Google and the opensource community make a UI. Most hardware manufactures do a crap job at it. Now lets actually have some hardware differentiation. Many of these things came from @TechyImmigrant

    Physical isolation for dual personalities / dual boot or maybe some hypervisor situation (like for access to a work network).
    Isolated dedicated external storage slot per profile
    Isolated dedicated SIM slot per profile
    User Replaceable batteries and placed where 3rd party options

  • So, there's where Nexus is going... I hope it's trully vanilla Android with updates directly from Google, not locking down the whole thing.
    Because you know, Lenovo has already borked several of their own laptops while trying to surreptiously install spyware and adware even in their own firmware, so I'm still suspicious of the company.
    But if it ends up being stock Android, it might be my next phone. Is it only Lenovo though, or they are doing this for Moto phones? Because that'd be great.

    • by hackel ( 10452 )

      Good question. I didn't even realise it was Lenovo that bought Motorola Mobility from Google. I'm confused how this announcement means in light of this statement from Wikipedia: "In November 2016, it was announced that Lenovo would stop releasing smartphones under its own name and the Vibe brand, and that all future smartphones would only carry the "Moto" brand and the Motorola logo."

  • My next phone might end up being a Lenovo.
  • This is great news. Now, if only they put all of the money they were originally spending on their proprietary platform into contributing to AOSP, and make sure that their phones can NEVER be OEM locked in any way, they will get my business.

  • Stock Android is way better than any of the carrier mods I've seen.

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