Things are looking great for LG. Since last year’s LG Optimus G, which was the basis for Google’s Nexus 4, the South Korean company has gathered mostly positive reviews for its flagship Android smartphone. Yesterday’s LG G2 announcement has set the stage for it to be the perfect smartphone. Well, almost, except for one thing.
Show us the stock Android
If there is one thing that bothers me, it’s the customised and bloated user interface (UI). And I’m not just talking about LG’s Optimus UI, this includes Samsung, HTC and Sony Mobile. Google’s open policy, which allows manufacturers to differentiate their products through a customised user interface, has turned into a double-edged sword.
Features such as simultaneous image capture with the front and rear cameras and a smart front camera that disables the screen or pauses videos when a user is not facing it have improved the user experience. But this comes at a great cost to the user interface, which feels more bloated than the vanilla Android UI.
Google Plays nice
The solution: flagship models using stock Android. Samsung and HTC have made the first move, offering Google Play editions of its flagship models like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. No Samsung TouchWiz, no HTC Sense, just a simple and easy to use Google Android Jelly Bean.
It’s not just the simplicity of Google’s vanilla UI that draws geeks to these stripped down smartphones like a moth to a flame. Smartphones with customised user interfaces typically take nearly three months to roll out the latest Google Android update. In contrast, users of Google’s Nexus series of smartphones and tablets get first dibs for the latest updates to the Android operating system. A week after Google unveiled the new Nexus 7 and rolled out Android 4.3 to its Nexus devices, the latest version was also delivered to the Galaxy S4 and One Google Play editions
Suffice to say, such Google Play edition smartphones give consumers what they paid for - the latest Android features, minus the waiting time. To date, neither Sony Mobile nor LG have confirmed a vanilla version of their flagship Sony Xperia Z or LG Optimus G smartphones. Imagine, the raw power of the faster quad-core processors, no longer bogged down by a multitude of apps that are not essential to the user experience.
Goodbye Moto, Hello LG
Nonetheless, at this point in time, the LG G2 is the standard to match for future smartphones. With the somewhat disappointing announcement of the Moto X, the LG G2 stole the thunder with top-notch hardware and its radical rear placement of its volume and power buttons.
LG, heed our advice, make the call and announce a Google Play edition for the LG Optimus G and LG G2. Do that, and you will give Apple and Samsung a run for their money.