This year we’ve already welcomed both the HTC One Google Edition phone and the Galaxy S4 Google Edition phone, and rumors have been swirling around about many other manufacturers that may get in on the action. This includes Sony, Huawei, and even Oppo.
Whilst it’s nice to have a handset built by a renowned manufacturer and have the pure experience of Vanilla Android, do we really need to have a bunch of Google Edition phones cluttering up the Play Store?
If all Android phones were offered with the exact same software, we’re left with a competition about whoever can offer the best hardware for the best price, and as far as I’m concerned, the Nexus 4 is still the clear winner of the price/performance category.
So, with that in mind, who do these Google Edition phones really appeal to, and what are the alternatives?
It’s understandable that a manufacturers UI overlay may feel a little overwhelming or cluttered to some users, and this is definitely seen with the Galaxy’s TouchWiz UX. Perhaps some may feel that a particular UI element may look ugly as well, and this may be enough of a reason to warrant a Google Edition phone.
But when it comes down to it, one of the greatest things about Android is that you can go to the Play Store and download a ton of utilities to really make your Android phone stand out. There are custom launchers, widgets, keyboards and plenty other tools that make Android so much more customizable than any other mobile OS.
The solution here strikes me as being quite obvious: Instead of manufacturing extra handsets and shipping them with different software, why don’t manufacturers simply offer the ability to install or download the ‘Google Edition experience’ from Google Play?
This means there isn’t any effort gone into extra manufacturing or software adjusting before shipping, and it also means we don’t have to wait weeks after a Google Edition phone is announced just to purchase one ourselves.
Instead, we could purchase a phone, and if the manufacturer chooses, we could have the option to go and download the Google Edition experience software for our phone.
You could argue that this makes it less accessible for those that don’t understand the ways of tech, but if you understand the benefits of a vanilla Android, you should be able to make your way to the Google Play store to type in the words ‘vanilla Android.’
What are your opinions? Do you think we need extra Google Edition smartphones, or do you feel that it’d be much more convenient for both manufacturers and consumers to be able to download the software from our phones?