Explained: What Is Stock Android?

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Ever since we encountered Google Play edition devices we often hear about “Stock Android” and some people think it is just another word for “Android“. Well, honestly, they have a difference which is indeed critical when you purchase a smartphone. If you are confused what is Stock Android then you are not new to the club.

Now lets start from the beginning to make things clear. Android is a mobile operating system (OS) based on the Linux kernel and currently managed by Google. Just managed by Google? I thought Google created it? Nope! Just like YouTube, Android was also acquired by Google. This mobile operating system was initially started by Android, Inc., (Thank you Andy Rubin!) then later Google backed them financially and they later bought in 2005. Now it’s a Google product.

Google released Android’s source code under open source licenses.

What Is Stock Android?

Stock Android is the default OS, I mean, the OS that Google usually keeps on their own devices like Nexus products. Google Nexus 5 has Stock Android whereas my Sony Xperia Z1 doesn’t have. Is there any big difference? Stock Android is the OS which Google originally designed without my modifications, let it be the UI or any add-on features. It has the pure Android kernel Google designed. It’s a bit complicated to explain the pros and cons of Stock Android smartphones, but once you can use both the devices (with and without Stock Android), then you can easily understand the changes and how impactful that is.

What Is Stock Android

Google Play editions normally come with Stock Android OS. It is very limited and you can’t find this on other brands unless they are into some sort of arrangement. You can, for example, take Samsung’s Touchwiz. TouchWiz is a front-end touch interface developed by Samsung Electronics. If you buy a Samsung smartphone or tablet, and if it comes without Stock Android, then you’ll be probably stuck with their Touchwiz interface. These are usually called as “Skinned Android”. The same occurs for other smartphones and tablets as well.

But if you ask me, whether Stock Android is capable of making a device more worthy, then I’ll probably stay neutral. Because it really depends to be honest, take Sony Xperia for instance, they can’t design their smartphones keeping Stock Android in mind, their features could collide with the OS and it might not work well. It might turn out to be a bad experience. But many still prefer Stock Android just because it can get immediate updates from Google, let it be their new application or a new Android version itself, you’ll be their top priority.

In a nutshell, we were about to say, Stock Android is an unmodified version of Android. So Skinned or Stock, I’ll really prefer the one only after seeing the device. 🙂

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3 Comments on Explained: What Is Stock Android?


  1. Aug 27, 2014 / Anoop:
    Hi Pradeep, Remember me? I believe you have missed out the most important feature of stock Android: direct updates from Google!! They get the latest and greatest features of android FASTER than other devices. They dont have to wait for the manufacturer to provide an update, followed by another massive wait by the carrier (if network locked) to tinker it before it hits the device. My SGS3 is a perfect example. I'm currently running Android 4.3 and it took ages to get this, while everyone else is enjoying 4.4 with their stock android devices. It also plays an in important rule in minimizing fragmentation that currently hinders some Android developers. P.S you are doing a terrific job with the blog, I hope it grows even more. Reply
    1. Aug 27, 2014 / Pradeep Kumar:
      Yes, I do remember you bro. Got confused with another Anoop, but by seeing the year "1987", I was able to come to a conclusion. :D I did mention about the fast and direct updates in the post bro! :D "But many still prefer Stock Android just because it can get immediate updates from Google, let it be their new application or a new Android version itself, you’ll be their top priority." ;) Thanks for your inputs, even for my Sony Xperia Z1, it took hell lot of time to get 4.4 update. :( Reply
  2. Aug 27, 2014 / Anoop:
    Aww, yes. The benefits of trying to read an article on a squinty 4.8″ inch device. Time to get a phablet me reckons :) Reply

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