Oppo, Huawei, Samsung, and other OEMs have hideous Android skins several years ago. The design seemed to copy iOS.
Fortunately, manufacturers have finally that customers want an overall smooth experience. The resource-hungry Android skins do not contribute to that.
Design is subjective. There are great features added by one manufacturer. Some OEMs also add unnecessary features.
However, there are some checklists on what makes an Android skin bad.
The first one is the design and overall visual appearance. There are manufacturers who experiment with their design. It even comes to the point where icons look very different.
Being a resource hog is the next one. What it means is that a device runs at almost full load with the launcher alone. It is already working hard to run the launcher alone.
Running an app slows the phone down until it hangs.
Lastly, added features and limited software updates. It came to a point years ago when Android makers try to one-up each other with their unique feature.
It was a nice era as OEMs try to innovate software-wise.
However, the downside lies in the software updates. These manufacturers add so much feature that putting it on an update takes several months. In the end, users are left hanging with a slow update cycle.
It was only recently that manufacturers had optimized their device. Look at Samsung, for example.
Samsung ran TouchWiz over Android for several years. That is where complaints pop up. Samsung devices slow down after a while because TouchWiz is resource hungry.
When the Korean manufacturer transitioned to the One UI, their devices ran smoother. The updates got quicker. The overall experience went better.
Another example is Oppo’s ColorOS. Oppo is known to be an iOS copycat. It is understandable why.
Opening up an Oppo device instantly shows a home screen that is reminiscent of iPhones. There is no app drawer, and the icons look different.
However, recent ColorOS updates have made the phone smoother. Its subsidiary, Realme, also produced a cleaner OS, the Realme OS.
This sub-company has implemented a smooth Android skin with no unnecessary features. It has some ads, though, and that is annoying.
If there is one company that is stuck with bad Android skins, then that is Vivo. The company calls its skin, FunTouch OS. It does not sound impressive judging by the name itself.
Props to Vivo for trying to have their own identity. But, the resemblance between FunTouch OS and iOS is very obvious.
The Android copy even has an Apple-like control center. It does not have an App drawer. FunTouch also copied the iOS style icons.
Android 11 is coming soon. With that in mind, Android skins are expected to flourish once more.
OnePlus has been a great benchmark when it comes to its UI. The new Android update might make it even better.
On the other hand, Google Pixels will still have the Pixel launcher. It might not be feature-packed as other UIs, but it makes up for it by giving a smooth experience.
With the being said, manufacturers have gotten better in creating their Android UI. There are no longer sluggish devices. Even mid-range devices provide a smooth experience now.
Android skins have come a long way. It is fortunate that this year, a smooth experience does not mean spending a fortune. That experience is credited to manufacturers optimizing their launchers.
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