The Nexus 4 is a powerful phone running quad core Snapdragon processors under the hood and 2GB of RAM. A 4.7″ screen with 768×1280 resolution, it is not as high resolution as the most recent generation of phones which sports 5″ screens with 1080×1920 resolution. But for most people, it is at the very least adequate.
The Nexus lineup enjoys stock Android OS which comes straight from Google with no manufacturer added contents or alterations. For a typical phone user, the question that needs asking is whether to go stock Android or OEM skinned Android. There are very valid points for both sides of the stock vs OEM argument. Some of the main advantages of each side are:
Nexus (Stock Android) over OEM:
Guaranteed Android OS upgrades from Google
Lack of memory expansion (no microSD card slot)
OEM over Nexus (Stock Android):
OEM custom features (e.g. Samsung’s camera enhancements & features)
More optimized software to pair with hardware
Usually has memory expansion slots
Based on that short list, it becomes quite easy to choose between stock Android (Nexus devices) versus OEM devices. It usually boils down to what is most important for you or what you cannot live without.
That’s the easy part. However, what if a user, like me, bought the Nexus 4? Then a more intriguing question arises, stock Android or CyanogenMod? This question is harder to answer as CyanogenMod is a custom ROM based on stock Android (Android Open Source Project or AOSP). The advantages of each side also becomes harder to distinguish:
Stock Android over CM (both on Nexus):
Faster Android OS upgrades from Google
CM over Stock Android (both on Nexus):
As can be seen, the main advantage of each side has dwindled to only one each and even then, the difference is no longer as clear cut.
Sure, stock Android would get the OS upgrades faster from Google since CM team would need to wait until Google releases the code before they can merge it in with their own. However, the process is much simpler compared to merging the changes with non-Nexus devices and hence, it is faster, usually within a couple of days.
As for CM’s advantage over stock Android, it can be argued that a number of CM’s features could be replicated using apps, paid or free.
With that said, neither side’s advantage is really clear cut. And, the question of stock Android or CM becomes a murky one. I have been using stock Android on my Nexus 4 since I bought it a few months back and recently have looked into putting CM on to it.
It looks as if it isn’t too much hassle to put CM onto the Nexus 4 and getting it back to stock Android should I need to. I may very well put CM onto my Nexus 4, even if just to test it out for a week or so before switching back to stock Android.
Are there any other differences between stock Android and CM that would make a persuasive argument towards either side?
P.S. Sorry for the long absence… I’ll try to blog more often 🙂