Is Pure Android the best choice for Nokia phones?

Lately, a small controversy happened with a Chinese manufacturer asking Twitter users what do they prefer on phones. Basically, the manufacturer asked users do they prefer Android One (in other words Pure Android) or Android with a custom ROM. Surprisingly or not, Android One got 57% of the votes, and for an unknown reason, the poll was deleted from Twitter.

The same poll was conducted by another Android manufacturer and with about same results. The Pure Android option got 58% of the votes, while the manufacturer’s custom ROM got 42%. This time, the poll wasn’t deleted, but that’s not so important.

Alleged Nokia 7 Plus with “Android One” branding

What’s important is that people like Pure Android. We often characterize it in reviews as a double-edged sword. A part of the population likes the simplicity, and everything additional they need, they download from the store. Others prefer to have it all, and then to use just what they want.

That leads us to the question, is Pure Android the best choice HMD made for its Nokia devices?

I would say yes, HMD Global really didn’t have a better option than going on Pure Android, because of technical reasons. At leasts, that’s what I think. HMD Global is still a small company, and using Pure Android allows them to easily keep their phones up to date (It’s nice to have the latest Android version:)). Some features are missing and most can be downloaded from the store, but an app can never beat a good implemented feature by the manufacturer.

Should HMD continue keeping Android as stock as possible? My answer would be yes again. As much as possible, but some usable features should be implemented on Android. For example, Glance screen. With Android Nougat, there was no option for a battery percentage in the status bar, and some users were asking for that option (there was a different battery percentage with UI Tuner). With Oreo, that feature was built-in by Google, but you get my point. Features that are good and usable, should be implemented.

Icon of Nokia Support App, that comes pre-installed with Nokia devices

I personally find that there is no need for duplicating apps like dialer, contacts, calculator, calendar, music player and so on. I see no point in having more apps, that do the same function, coming pre-installed with the device – one from Google, one from manufacturer. But, apps like an audio recorder that utilizes OZO Audio on Nokia 6 (2018), 7, and 8 would be a great addition. Camera app, of course, should be personalized by the manufacturer, and in my opinion, that’s it. Other usable changes should be implemented in settings, just like Glance is on the Nokia 8.

HMD working on Glance Screen and gesture control improvements


We saw in recent Nokia Mobile’s Valentine’s gif that Android will stay Pure on Nokia phones, and Nokia won’t try to change it. Also, alleged Nokia 7 plus renders appeared with an Android One branding. So, there are hints that HMD will continue to keep the software pure, and people like it that way. However, that shouldn’t stop HMD, when they see that a usable feature is missing, from adding real usable stuff to the system.

What’s your opinion on this topic? Do you miss any feature and want it to be added to Nokia phones? Should HMD stay pure or maybe try to bring some old Symbian/MeeGo UI to Android? Or even one from Nokia X series? Maybe release a launcher in PlayStore? Actually, Nokia gave up on this idea few years ago when stopped developing Z Launcher. Or why bother at all, if that resource can be spent into optimization or/and better camera algorithms? Tell us your thoughts down below. 🙂