Android is a fantastic mobile operating system, and continues to become one of the biggest forces in mobile software out on the market. As is the nature of Android, everybody seems to want a slice. Whilst this means that we, as consumers, have a large product base to choose from, it also means we get lumbered with a huge amount of manufacturer bloatware. Without a doubt the worst feature of the Samsung Galaxy S4, in my opinion at least, happens to be the user experience that Samsung TouchWiz provides. HTC Sense 5 isn’t any better either, and don’t even get me started on Motorola’s MOTOBLUR from some years back.
But, this happens to be Android. And what’s the best thing about Android? We can change things. There are of course tons and tons of custom ROMs available that can get you true stock Android experience on your device, with the most popular ones now being the ROMs which are ported from Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 and HTC One devices. But of course not everyone likes to go hard way of rooting and unlocking bootloader to play around with these custom ROMs. What not many know is that you can get almost stock Android look and feel even without rooting your device. With only a small selection of apps available from the Google Play Store, you can make almost any device that happens to be running Android, look and feel like it’s running a stock version of Google’s software.
This is a workaround, a very good one at least, but a workaround all the same. Again, if you’re looking for the true stock Android experience, you may want to check out a Nexus device or a Google Play Store Edition flagship phone. But if you’re boasting an Android smartphone apart from the aforementioned ones, then simply follow our guide on how to get the stock Android experience on any device right now – without rooting.
The apps and software that I used during the making of this video can all be downloaded from Google Play Store:
- Home launcher: Nova Launcher or Apex Launcher 2.0 APK.
- Lock screen: WidgetLocker Lockscreen or Holo Locker.
- Live Wallpapers: Mix it up. Try Nexus 4 Dots Live Wallpaper or Jelly Bean Live Wallpaper.
- Keyboard: Google Keyboard for Android.
If you’re having a bad time with TouchWiz or HTC Sense, simply installing a custom launcher and throwing an icon pack onto your device can just work wonders. It may be as simple as adding a few new transition animations, or slightly more complex where you need to change the home screen structure and icon layout. With these changes, you can do all of that with ease, resulting in improved usability of your device tailored to your usage.
Android is fantastic, I just wonder how long it will be until Samsung or other OEMs take the plunge and stop shipping all of their devices with excessive amounts of bloatware which clearly do more harm than good.