What features are missing from stock Android?
Android fans are all about the pure Google experience, but it is imperative that we recognize it is not right for everybody. Yes, stock Android is super clean and simple, but this also means it needs to miss out on some great features other manufacturers and developers have already introduced.
And such is the beauty of Android’s open nature. Phone makers can come and throw in any functionality they deem necessary. This is not only great for innovation, but we have found there is plenty Google could learn and bring to their own UI. Some of these features are trivial and just plain fun, but others are pretty basic capabilities that should have been brought on board long ago.
Shall we get started?
No restart option? Really?
This one is a bit… silly, to say the least. The pure Google experience on Nexus devices currently has no option to restart the phone. Well, it does, but it is a completely non-intuitive and most of us probably wouldn’t figure out without some research.
You know how most smartphones have an option to power off, as well as to power off and restart? That’s not the case with stock Android! Hit the power button and you will be presented with nothing but a Power Off button.
If you want to restart your Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X (or whatever) handset, you have to press and hold the power button for about 8 seconds. Not only is this hard to find, but it can also be inconvenient. I mean, I often pocket press buttons much longer than that.
We need a restart option, Google. We need it now.
Showing battery percentage in the status bar
This is a basic setting, right? Plenty of manufacturers have an easy-to-access option that will allow you to display a battery percentage number right in the status bar, not just an ambiguous icon.
The pure Android experience does offer this feature too, but you need to jump through hoops just to get to it. I don’t want to go through activating the System UI Tuner just to do this. It would just make everyone’s lives easier if Google enabled this by default.
In the land of Android, we need not worry about looks. We can make our UI look however we please, but this usually involves downloading a third-party launcher that will support all those modifications.
I am not asking for Google to allow all kinds of messy changes to its UI. After all, that is one of the beauties of pure Android, but I think something like supporting icon packs would be a good thing to have. I would personally also like to see a way to change icon sizes, as well as the amount of apps displayed per row and column.