Right around the time that HTC launched their original Hero, the one that saw some variants launched here in the States, the argument between proprietary software from manufacturers and stock Android was pretty loud. There were those who had fallen in love with that vanilla experience, and didn't want any custom software getting in the way. On the other end of the spectrum, though, many argued that the custom software made Android usable by the general public.
There have been plenty of devices launched in the past that could set the stage for either argument, to be honest. For the custom software, you'd have HTC's Hero, with its first installment of Sense UI and plenty of alterations to the Android mix. And for those who love their stock platform, Motorola's original DROID had a lot going for it back in the day, and none of it leaned towards custom software from the manufacturer.
And we can go back-and-forth, probably all day long, about which devices really stand on their own, and which devices flopped -- all because of the software that came pre-loaded out of the box. Custom versus stock. It's an argument that people may never get tired of, even if they've been tired of it from day one.
The solution for most aesthetic issues on Android is pretty simple, though: customization.
There's no doubt in my mind that one of the biggest strengths for Google's mobile platform is its roots in customization, and offering up the ability to change just about whatever you want, whenever you want. The only downside to that for a long time was the fact you needed root access to really make any changes you might want.
That changed eventually, though, thanks to the Home replacements out there. Now changing the way your device looks is just as easy as downloading an app and changing some settings, all easily accessible and without having to play around with any rooting methods. Plus, icon packs and custom backgrounds, the possibilities are pretty much endless for anyone who wants to take the time.
The fact that you can install a launcher that makes your phone look completely different, like an entirely different mobile platform in fact, is pretty outrageous. And awesome.
But I want to know what you'd recommend for someone who was just starting to dabble into the customization field. Someone who wants to change the way their phone looks, from the home screen to the keyboard, to whatever else. All without root access. So let me know what you'd recommend.