How do you feel about manufacturers putting their own interfaces on top of vanilla Android? We know it isn’t a very popular idea, but Google Ventures’ Rich Miner is wondering why carriers don’t do the same thing. He said as much at the Open Mobile Summit, with Fierce Mobile reporting that he expressed surprise at the fact that carriers don’t take advantage of Android’s open platform to make their phones stand out from the crowd.

“There’s a big opportunity that they seem to have left on the table,” Miner said. Of course, that’s not to say that carriers haven’t tried adding their own features to the handsets they offer (plenty have in the past), but installing custom interfaces has mostly been a manufacturer thing. Miner apparently doesn’t see a reason why it can’t be a carrier thing too, though we’re sure many Android fans would disagree with his assertion that carriers should start doing more to make their devices stand out.

In fact, most of the people we know would pick their carrier based on the quality of the their network and fairness of their pricing, not because the phones they offer have custom interfaces you can’t find anywhere else. A lot of the Android faithful seem to be just fine with the vanilla Android experience, as evidenced by the fact that so many complain about the changes manufacturers make on their phones.

Carriers might just listen to Miner too – after all, he is the co-founder of Android. It might not be a bad idea if carriers can come up with useful interfaces that actually perform well, but ultimately if it just leads to more bloat, we can see it easily having an adverse effect. What do you think? Should carriers start making their own modifications to the Android OS, or should they leave Android alone for the most part?

  • Jan Stepka


    • I hope carriers weren’t listening.. uhh

    • kidheated

      I concur. If anything, carriers should have less to do with the OS and it’s UI. Maybe if we saw some tlc brought to big red’s vvm app, something may be considered.

  • Eric Peterson

    God damnit. I don’t even care any more. If Google keeps the Nexus family alive then I don’t give a shit if the carriers (bet Verizon is first in line for that one) shit on Android more then they already do.

  • Andy_in_Indy

    Most carrier tried this with feature phones and some with early Android phones. People didn’t like it. Mostly because the carriers are caught in the wrong mindset – they want to make money off of the customization (or there is no reason to develop them) but it is so much cheaper to just add bloatware. Add to that the drama we heap on carriers whenever there is a slow update cycle on a phone (Droid Bionic!) and they see that it is nothing but a few daisies in a field of nuclear landmines. It is not even worth their time to look into what people want – let the phone manufacturers eat the cost of that research!

  • T-Mobile already tried this with the HTC MyTouch series (not sure if they still do it with the LG/Huawai variations). The phone served me well for a year and a half, but I couldn’t use it without an alternative launcher.

    Everyone just needs to learn their place. OEMs manufacture the hardware, carriers provide network access and let Google code the software.

    • Justin W

      This ^^


    Leave android UI alone carriers and OEMs hands off android dammit!!!!

  • Cid

    Am I the only one who, at first glance, thought; “Why the hell should anyone care what some rich miner thinks about Android interfaces? What?” before realizing I’m an idiot?

  • ImperfectLink

    …another reason alcohol shouldn’t be served to miners.