For HTC and Samsung, their proprietary software is half the show. They want to win you over not with just the hardware they release, but also the software that you use every time you pick it up. It's why they've got names you can remember: HTC's Sense UI and Samsung's TouchWiz. They may not be known by everyone, but that's just a formality, and one that these companies are trying to change with each new device.
It used to be the same thing for Motorola, back in the day. They had their own proprietary software, originally called MOTOBLUR, and it made quite an impact way back when. More often than not, not in a good way. So, over the subsequent release of handsets, Motorola trimmed it down, changed things, and eventually removed it altogether. The result is the Moto X and Moto G, a pair of devices that many would say is the best implementation of an Android-based device to date.
For other companies, even if a name for their custom software exists, it's just an afterthought. Created because . . . Well, because things need names. The real reason? To differentiate themselves from the competition. (Admittedly, this is why all manufacturers who use Android have custom software, but I'm sure you get the point.) LG, and other companies, didn't want to be the companies using stock Android when HTC, Samsung and Motorola were making waves with their own software and features. So? They jumped on board the proprietary software bandwagon, and everything else is history.
Here we are, several years later, and there are many who believe stock Android is still the best way to experience Google's mobile operating system. Seeing the appeal of skinned software may not be easy, but there are some who've come around -- like all those thousands (hundreds of thousands) who keep buying the devices that run custom software.
After 20 days of using LG's G Flex, I can tell you plainly that the custom software that LG has included on the device drives me crazy. If you've been using phones for quite some time, and you've had your own experiences with old versions of Sense and TouchWiz, then you can guess the big issue with LG's own creation: Too heavy, and in your face in every single way.
LG's custom software offers ways to change the look of it, with themes and font alterations, but it's never not too heavy handed. The worst part of it all, though, in my opinion is that none of the themes look good, and none of the fonts --except Roboto-- are all that appealing. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are more than a few people out there who probably love the aggressive way this software is implemented, but for me it's just aggravating more often than not.
Basically, it makes me like TouchWiz. So, there's that.
There are a lot of options, just like you'd expect from a piece of custom software. You can even customize the way you see the software buttons, or their background, or the options that are presented at the bottom of the six-inch display. The end result, though, is just that none of it is all that appealing to me.
There are features that let you draw in the display, so you can take notes when you want, but the fact that there's not an included stylus just makes the effort only half attempted. At least the accuracy is pretty good.
LG isn't new to the custom software front, but I feel like they're at the same juncture in their path that HTC and Samsung were all those years ago. It's time to trim the whole show down, while at the same time keeping all the bonuses for the consumer. There doesn't need to be the "in-your face" style, just to have extra features.
If LG gets around to slimming the software down, and they should, then I think they'll genuinely be on the same playing field as the other companies that try to stand out on their own. Right now, though, the LG's curved design is tarnished by the software that's just not all that easy on the eyes. On my eyes.
So, with the software down, the display tackled, the camera put in focus, the battery tested, and with only 11 more days left in the challenge, it's time to set our sights on something else. But, what should that be? Let me know what you'd like to see put under the microscope next.