Android’s openness is a big reason for its success, but phone manufacturers often use this openness to make the experience worse for its users. Android’s openness gives device manufacturers the freedom to do bad things.
The Android platform is successful because manufacturers are free to produce a wide variety of different devices and customize their software. However, this is also the cause of Android’s biggest problems. Here are a few of them.
Bloatware You Can’t Uninstall
Many Android phones come with bloatware. Bloatware is software preinstalled by the phone’s manufacturer. This additional software ranges from the useful, like some of Samsung’s apps that add unique features, to the useless, like some stupid game that could easily be downloaded separately.
However useful the preinstalled software is, there’s a big problem—this software takes up space on the phone. The software is installed to the system partition, where you can’t normally remove it—just like you can’t normally uninstall Gmail and other important apps that come with the Android OS. Bloatware can often take up a large amount of space, especially on phones with limited storage out of the gate, like most budget handsets. Ample storage has long been reserved for premium devices, and that has yet to change.
Preinstalled apps can be disabled, but that doesn’t free up any space. You can only remove them with a root-only app like the powerful Titanium Backup or by installing a custom ROM.
Skins You Can’t Disable
Android manufacturers like Samsung, HTC,Tecno,Infinix and others change the look of the Android operating system, tweaking it to use a different launcher (home screen), theme for included apps, and more. Manufacturers have to modify Android’s code to do this, and they make it impossible to use the default interface if you prefer it.
On Infinix and Tecno devices HIOS and XOS is the only included interface. Sure, you can install a third-party launcher—like the popular Nova Launcher that functions similarly to the default stock Android launcher—but manufacturers deprive you of the choice of using true stock Android on your device. There are, however, some things can you do to make your Infinix or Tecno phone feel a bit more like stock Android—keep in mind, however, this is mostly just a band-aid fix.If you really want to use stock Android, you will have to install a custom ROM like LineageOS. Otherwise, you’re stuck with the manufacturer’s interface or a third-party one, with no ability to easily disable the manufacturer’s custom interface and get Google’s version of the OS if you would prefer it.
Unreleased and Delayed Updates
Manufacturers produce an endless variety of different smartphones but when it comes to system updates manufacturers tend to be reluctant this can mean long waits for simple updates, or updates never coming in the first place ( Tecno is number one culprit when it comes to system updates). It’s the grim reality of system updates on Android, and it’s something that hasn’t changed as dramatically as many have hoped it would over the last half-decade.
This results in many flagship phones only receiving a few updates, lower end phones never receiving updates, and delays while updates make their way to even high-end, recent phones. As a bonus for manufacturers, this causes a phone to feel outdated before its time, encouraging customers to upgrade to an expensive new smartphone . It’s a sick, sad circle.
Android phones—even Google’s open and mod-friendly Pixel phones—ship with locked bootloaders. The locked bootloader will only boot an approved OS, ensuring that the operating system can’t be tampered with without your knowledge.
On a Tecno device or another phone with an unlockable bootloader, you can choose to unlock your bootloader, which allows you to install another operating system, like the LineageOS custom ROM. However, unlocking your bootloader in these ways will sometimes void your warranty—that’s what the smartphone manufacturers often claim, anyway.
Some manufacturers ship their phones with no way to unlock the bootloader, depriving you of the choice to use a custom ROM. This generally means you can’t install something like LineageOS to get a more recent version of Android after they stop updating your device. Unlocking your bootloader may still be possible, but may be more work, often involving running a tool that exploits a security vulnerability in Android to gain access. People have to go out of their way to discover these security vulnerability so newer phones can be unlocked and rooted, which also present an ample number of negative possibilities—like bricking the device, making it completely unusable (which is often permanent).