I’m a fan of stock/vanilla Android, I like the look of it and I also like the feel; I’m not a huge fan of skins and normally flash as soon as I can. It seems Virgin Mobile in the USA feels the same way. Virgin Mobile, which in the USA is a subsidiary of Sprint, have put their best foot forward and have pledged to only stock and sell handset that give their customers the true “Google Experience” and with that they mean stock/vanilla Android.

Virgin Mobile USA aims to make available devices that allow the end-user to have the freedom to customize the device to their liking. We like to take a consistent approach with our Android portfolio and so we prefer to have the true Android experience loaded on all our Android phones.

It’s a big move by a carrier, even though they are quite small in the scheme of things, mainly in regards to size in the USA, but compared to carriers here they are relatively large. It’s a very good move by a carrier to try to uphold the experience set forth by Google for their OS and their own customers. If only some companies here in Australia would tune in and listen to their customer-base about skins and UI’s, we might not have this mis-match of software and hardware and everyone thinking they can do it better. One day this dream of mine and of many other people, may just come true… maybe. Do you prefer stock over skinned versions of Android?

Source: Android and Me.
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    I reckon this is Virgin Mobile hoping to grab the “skin off” crowd from T-Mobile in the US as AT&T swallows T-Mo up. You don’t have to be a Yank to know that AT&T are adept in offering phones with crapware. I do hope Virgin Mobile Australia follow suit! I consider Optus and Telstra a lost cause – those two love to put their junk on phones, slowing down updates as much as custom skins. Vodafone is doing a good job getting lots of Android phones. In fact Voda are getting so many that they could never expect such a… Read more »


    HTC Sense has a few nice features.  In particular the weather and clock widgets look awesome, and you can search calendars.

    I don’t see much value in MotoBlur, but I like the Motorola Multi-touch keyboard.  I’m more accurate on that than any other keyboard I’ve tried.

    TouchWiz looks kinda childish with its bright colors.  The Galaxy S II hardware looks really nice, but if I got one the first thing I’d do would be to install Cyanogenmod or at least ADW.Launcher.


    Is flashing a certain way to remove skins and run vanilla? I’m new to android, can anyone explain this for me?

    Adam Rowlandson

    Flashing a new ROM is similar to installing a new operating system on your PC (i.e. your PC came with Windows 7 Home Premium, but you want to install the Ultimate Edition or a Linux Distribution, etc). For example, I have a HTC Legend. It came shipped with the standard HTC ROM, but I didn’t want all the bloat that came with it (as well as desiring the extra abilities inherit of gaining root). So I unlocked the bootloader and gained root which enabled me to flash a custom ROM called Cyanogen Mod which provides a stock android UI and some… Read more »


    Interesting, what are the main benefits of gaining access to the entire file system? I thought android was pretty open to begin with? Thanks 🙂


    I used to feel the same way, but sense is just awesome.

    Also, did you seriously tag this post under gutsy move..?

    Lucas Burnett

    That I did, think about it, if the manufacturers don’t ship handsets with vanilla Android, they have nothing to sell or they can’t continue their pledge. It’s a gutsy move, it can have implications on their subscriber base.

    Ryan Margheriti

    my point was, the purpose of a tag is to group other similar posts together. When are you ever going to use that tag again? 

    Adam Rowlandson

    I think this is a great move on their part, but I think that it may become redundant by the fact that most of the manufacturers are moving towards unlocked/unlockable bootloaders. For the most part, the user base that would like the vanilla android experience completely overlaps the user base that is likely to flash their devices with a custom rom given the support. What may be a better move is to make the manufacturers ship their devices with two roms that you can switch between on the fly (obviously requiring a hard reset unless the shipped rom manager supports… Read more »


    I feel stock is too plain. Remember, we all want android to be mass-market…. I don’t think that would be possible without the skins we get from the OEMs.

    Julian Pinget

    that’s awesome, i’m pretty sick of people complaining that android is buggy/slow etc. when in reality it’s the bloatware that makes it that way

    definitely a leap forward for android (given how synonymous ‘copycat’ is with ‘telco’)


    Some skins are horrible, but I do general like the skinned Android experience. I think if phones were available to be both sold with the option of skinned or vanilla it would be pretty awesome.

    Christopher Salmon

    I think this is a great move, but for the mass US market I don’t know if it’ll work in their favour all that well.  I’m already seeing some of my (less tech-y) friends get attached to Sense and TouchWiz and will likely buy phones in the future from the same manufacturer purely for the UI consistency, so they may be locking out potential customers.

    That said, I definitely prefer stock Android over any of the other manufacturer ROMs – although my phone purchases are largely based on CM7 support right now.

    Buzz Moody

    I think this is very much a gutsy move by a carrier in any country.

    However I don’t think Australia has a big enough smartphone customer base that want stock Android, it’s very much a minority. I certainly hope a carrier would allow for more high-end devices with stock Android. For now it’s more a dream than a distant reality. 🙁