Stock applications are a mixed bag, aren’t they? It’s one of those things that that can either support a device, or just annoy the owner to the point where “drastic measures” have to be taken. I’ve personally rooted an Android device just to remove stock apps from the device as quickly as I could. Bloatware doesn’t sound pretty, and there’s a reason for that. But, sometimes stock apps aren’t too bad, especially if they’re minimized right out of the gate.
For example, iOS. The stock apps that Apple offers you out of the box really aren’t that bad. No, you can’t remove them, but you can put the icons in a Folder and never look at them. That’s what I’ve always done. I usually call that Folder something like “The Pasture,” and just set all the apps I don’t use in it. The stocks app goes in there, for sure. And, there are times where I’ve wanted to put Newsstand in there, too, but unfortunately that’s just not possible. (So I started using It this last go through with iOS, and it was actually pretty nice. I still didn’t have the icon on my first home page, though.)
I used the other stock apps in iOS for a little while, until I realized that there are just better apps out there within the App Store. Let’s be honest: the calculator and weather apps that are created by some developers out there are ridiculously good. When you compare them to the stock apps, it seems pretty clear that spending a bit of money to get the better option just makes sense.
I’ve had a wide-ranging experience with stock apps over the years, and I can say that for the most part, I don’t mind them. However, the line between not caring about them, and finding them impossibly annoying is very, very thin. There’s a point where having too many is just pointless, and if manufacturers start weighing phones down with apps out of the box, there’s a chance that it can muddy the overall experience right from the start.
Samsung loves stock applications, for example. They’ve started to include a lot more of them, too. Their “S” apps are all over the place, and as they focus more on that S Pen and stylus input, they aren’t going to go away. I didn’t notice any slowness when using the Galaxy Note and those stock apps, and I’m sure the Galaxy Note II doesn’t stutter, either. But, the Galaxy Note 10.1? Yep. Sure, it could just be because it’s an Android tablet, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the stock apps are a little bit too weighty, and bog down the experience.
However, I find myself actually wanting stock apps right at this moment. Why? Because the stock apps in Windows 8 are actually really nice, and I want them to be available in Windows Phone 8. Specifically, I want the stock apps like Weather, News, and Sports. There is a Stocks app, but I don’t use it, so I don’t need it on my future phone. (It’s a nice looking app, though, so I’m sure someone out there would want to use it.)
These particular apps are such a nice touch to Windows 8, and put the focus on Microsoft’s ability to make good applications, that I think they would make a strong case for Windows Phone 8. Manufacturers like HTC and Samsung already put their own themed applications on their Windows Phone devices, so it wouldn’t be that big of a stretch to see Microsoft do the same thing. And if they could make those stock apps look, and run, just as nice as they do on Windows 8, then that’s just a win-win for everyone.
I want to know where you stand with stock apps, Dear Reader. Do you hate them? Or have you found yourself using some over the years? And, if you do use some, which ones do you use, and for which platform? Have you used the stock apps in Windows 8, yet? If so, would you want to see them installed out of the box with Windows Phone 8? Let me know!
image via Vicinity Limited