There may be Nexus and Google Play versions and experiences … Simply what precisely is ‘Inventory Android’ anymore? (And does it even subject?)
The time period “Inventory Android” will get thrown round relatively a little — in particular with the introduction of those Google Play edition devices — and has earned a level of reverence that’s pretty unparalleled in the Android world. Even the words get a capital letter, so you know it’s something that people care about. The (very vocal) minority of us have even forced HTC and Samsung’s hand to release their latest and greatest with all their hard work removed and the mighty Stock Android in place. But Stock Android itself is a misnomer, and it’s almost impossible to define.
Webster’s tells us that “stock” is the original from which others derive. In that sense, it does describe Android as Google intended it. But we don’t apply a direct definition to most things when they work their way into daily use, so Stock Android (with the capital S) needs some further explanation.
I’m not preaching from my virtual soapbox here; I’m every bit as guilty of muddling things as anyone else is. But that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss it, right?
Let’s do that, then.
What is Android?
Since we’re talking definitions here, let’s start with the obvious: What is Android? For most of us, Android is an operating system that we use on mobile devices, and possibly our television or camera. But if we want to get technical (and we do), Android is a kernel mostly based on Linux, with its middleware, libraries and assorted APIs written in C, and uses an application framework that includes Java-compatible libraries. These libraries are based on Apache Harmony, and allow software to run inside the Dalvik virtual machine, using Dalvik dex-code that has been translated from Java bytecode. Technically, Android is not a Linux distribution because it doesn’t natively support the full set of GNU tools and libraries, though many folks (guilty) feel differently about that point.
Confused yet? Don’t be. All that tecnho-babble was designed to demonstrate that you can simply argue any point to death, and often the generally accepted definition isn’t the best or right one. Nerds will argue what Android is, what it was designed to do, and what it will become forever, because as nerds we love to argue about this sort of thing.
To you, Android is what you think it is, and that’s important.
I can hardly lay all this out without giving my own 2 cents worth, so here goes: To me, Android is an open-source computer operating system designed to be extensible and easy to write applications for. I consider it a Linux distro, but that’s not really important. At it’s core, Android is just a bunch of files that tick away under the user-facing software that we see when we turn our phone on. The user-facing software is the important part. That leads us to the real subject of this piece.
What is Stock Android?
Just like the nerds will never be able to agree what Android is, the users (that’s you and me!) will probably never be able to agree what Stock Android is. I don’t know Andy Rubin. I’ve never even had the pleasure of meeting him. But I’m pretty sure nobody is happier to see what most partners have done with his baby. Originally designed as the software and interface for digital cameras, Android has blossomed into an important household of tool from companies like Google, LG, HTC, Sony, Motorola and Samsung, to call however a couple of.
Clutch the cellphone you’ve in entrance of you. Have you ever monkeyed round with the firmware, or is it nonetheless operating the bottom device that it got here with from the oldsters who constructed it? If it can be the latter, it can be working “inventory.” The OS it got here with.
In case you have dug in and flashed different ROMs, are you operating “inventory” CyanogenMod? Or perhaps “inventory” AOKP? Perhaps you might be even working a model of AOSP that you simply constructed your self. Any of those situations are technically “inventory.” So why can we hang “Inventory Android” (there is that capital S once more) in such excessive regard?
There used to be a time when all and sundry right here would inform customers sad with their software to take issues into their very own fingers and go “Inventory.” “Root your telephone, Mickey!” was once our usual solution, as a result of on the time it used to be the most effective resolution. For those who had an older cellphone from HTC, Samsung or Motorola and received to make use of the Nexus One, you knew precisely what we have been speaking about. Google did it higher, as a result of it had extra observe at it.
However issues have modified.
Jelly Bean, the best way Google creates it on the Nexus line, is lovely. It can be largely computer virus-free, and with get admission to to Google Play it can be the very best base to construct your personal set of these oh-so-necessary consumer-going through tool options we mentioned past. However you already know what? So are the Galaxy S4 and HTC One. Carriers have gotten higher at constructing Android, and their “inventory” choices are as excellent or higher in lots of cases for a lot of customers. That you may argue about button format and placement, or perceived lag and smoothness, however throughout the board the Android companions are excellent at increasing on the Android code Google provides them, and “inventory” Android-primarily based telephones can also be as excellent as “Inventory Android” telephones.
These Google Play Variation telephones that had been launched as of late positive are good. They supply Google’s model of Inventory Android for those who do not wish to dig in and void their warranties, and that is the reason necessary — we wish folks to be pleased with their buy, as a result of we’ve got a vested fascinated by Android and it is boom. However these telephones don’t seem to be essentially higher than their unique counterparts from HTC and Samsung, and are missing probably the most options that make both cellphone nice whereas operating their very own “inventory” device. They may be now not Nexus units. Make no mistake about that.
I for sure wish to get a crack at these Google Play model telephones. I am curious how neatly Jelly Bean the best way Google does it’s going to run on more recent hardware than what’s throughout the Nexus four or Nexus 10. However I am additionally going to be more than happy with my HTC One “inventory” the best way it got here from HTC, since the options it deals are why I wished it within the first location. Let’s pull Inventory Android off that pedestal, and notice that the selections we’ve got when shopping for a brand new cellphone are what truly makes Android nice.