Yesterday Sprint and Motorola unveiled two new Android phones: the Photon 4G for Sprint and the Triumph for Virgin Mobile. One of the immediately identifiable differences between the two handsets is that the Photon features a custom Motorola UI (don't even think about calling it MOTOBLUR), while the Triumph is running a mostly stock version of Android 2.2. The same can be said about Virgin's other two Android offerings, the LG Optimus V and the Samsung Intercept. Today a Virgin Mobile spokesperson explained to PCMag why this is, saying that it likes to give customers the ability to customize their devices however they want and that not using custom skins on any of the carrier's Android phones allows for a more "consistent approach." The full statement from the spokesperson:
"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."
Although Virgin Mobile's Android phones do feature a few bits of bloatware sprinkled in, I'm sure there are many Android purists that'd be willing to deal with a few unwanted apps in exchange for a vanilla version of the OS. This is especially true when it comes to the new Motorola Triumph, which sports some high-end specs alongside a mostly-virgin build of Froyo. My only hope is that other carriers will follow Virgin's lead and begin to offer at least some Android phones without any kind of customized UI. What are your thoughts on plain ol' Android versus a skinned version of the OS? Which do you prefer?