My two cents on how far stock #android
came. I joined the the crowed when android was at 2.1 with a #Sgs #vibrant
I rooted it when I updated it on 2.2 to get gingerbread since Samsung and tmobile never pushed it out and was shocked at how different the UI and android in general was. From the camera app to the phone app all the way down to the messenger app it made me want to turn around and get touchwiz back only thing that stopped me was how buggy touchwiz was running. Fast forward to 4.2 jellybean. I got the #sgs3
rooted on #CM
10.1 while I know the stock android JB misses some features that CM offers it is relatively the same.
1. UI: the UI changed with #ICS
and it brought a drastic change almost like the little android matured almost into a terminator t1. Homescreen while still keeping the relative five apps on the bottom cleaned up is a more presentable sexier look. Pull down notification didn't change too much but it did receive two updates in 4.1 and 4.2 with the addition of the quick toggle squares. App drawer changed as well and I believe samsungs touchwiz was probably an influence on the side sweeping app tray. Plus the addition of seperating apps and widgets. The lock screen changed as well in 4.0 it was a more honeycomb style interface with the ability to unlock the phone or unlock straight into camera then a minor update to lockscreen came in 4.1 with google now to sweep up to go straight into the voice command search feature. In 4.2 the lockscreen matured a little more again with having different widgets on different screens to swipe from ex. Messages, weather, clock, camera ect. The font also was updated to roboto to play nice with the more mature look of android.
2. Native apps: now when I mean apps I strictly mean ones not downloaded from the play store just the native phone apps you get when you run the phone for the first time. The camera app had its changes and updates as well and I think it's finally there where its near perfect. In 4.2 the camera got rid of all the borders the app uses the entire display and uses a circle toggle that when you press the screen the menu buttons pop up. Along with touch to focus there is nothing but the capture orb like button and the camera toggles. I won't get into the panorama and sphere features because at best they perform ok and are fun to play around with.
Phone app hasn't changed too much since 4.0 no need really although I like the swipe to call or message. Browser, in the stock nexus chrome is the stock browser for surfing (best browser on a mobile device in opinion.) On roms that dev create the original 4.0 browser is the stock which comes in handy because it plays nice with flash if you side load the app since flash no longer supports anymore is available. Calendar is ok to me it's a bit messy since I can't set the standard view of day instead of week. Gmail finally received a major needed update with the ability to zoom in and out of content in your mail message.
3. Google now: the reason google now is a seperate subject from 2 is that google now is really two apps in one. Google now is if Siri and google search got it on and baby came out this would be it. You can search online and you can also interact with it so it can be a personal assistant, sort of. But alas it also does one more thing it constantly displays information for you in a form of cards. For example into sports, search a few games and it well tell you either the score or the next time your team is playing. If you for some reason forget which day you simply go back into google now look at the stacks of cards it displays And sure enough a card with your team along with some other ones will display. It also gathers information from your calendar and gmail like meetings or packages that where shipped and recipes for your online purchases reminded you. You can also ask it to call or text people among other things. It's a great app and it sure does do a lot of things but it still needs more developing for example it needs to be more interactive with the user if google now doesn't understand your request it will search the Internet thinking its a google search instead of a internal phone search. I think it needs to do more to keep the user more in the internal search instead of automatically switching it to a online search. The request to send a message needs to be changed instead of: send John Doe a message when does it start? You should do it in steps like for example send John Doe a message. It responds back and asks you what the message is and you tell it and then asks you would like to send it. Also another thing I believe google should work on intergrading is a drive mode. When receiving a message it should pop up and read out loud and ask you would like to call them or message them back.
4. Last one I promise, drive mode. I know I touched up on it a bit in the previous one but there really should be a stock drive mode app in android. Few benefits should be if you have your phone in a landscape stand that sits on your dash or somewhere in your car it really hurts the UI that there is no proper way to force the lock screen and homescreen unless your rooted into landscape. I know there apps that can fix this problem even roms but my main concern is that it should be a function that works with drive mode where depending on the phone is placed the UI should represent the proper way of viewing the screen. Specially when getting a call or are in call the UI takes a second force the app in portrait mode. Another one is that it should be integrated with google now to work together for receiving messages and calls to read out loud with out having to pick up your phone and keep it relatively hands free. Laws are getting stricter and stricter about talking on the phone while driving even texting which you shouldn't be doing. If by any chance drive mode does get integrated into the next update I think it should be an app that bring out a simplified homescreen with big icons for quick access to maps navigation and search and phone. I think this was on gingerbread I can't remember correctly I do remember messing. With it a couple of times but at the ginger bread time the app didn't have a voice assistant to go along with so it was mostly over looked.
Well my two cents this is in no way a comparison to #apple
and the #iphone
or for that matter custom launchers like sense or touchwiz just plain old vanilla android.