Why do Android Skins Look Different on Some Phones?

Have You Noticed that Android Skins Look Different on Some Phones?

This article discusses several topics about Android skins.

Although Android Skins Look Different on Some Phones, they all have some common basic functionality. Before we get into skins, we should get acquainted with the open-source Operating System (OS) that was developed by Google.

The open-source Android operating system

Android skins are possible because the Android operating system is open-source code. The updates and other changes to Android are done by Google. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) incorporates these changes and updates to the Android source code. This code is the bare-bones, or the “Stock” version of the operating system.

When Google developed the Android operating system they intended it to be used by cellphones, tablets, and other touch screen devices, for the most part. Now Google also uses the Android operating system in smart devices like wristwatches, televisions, and even cars. Each of these devices requires a unique interface.

The Android operating system is used by manufacturers like Lg, Oneplus, and Samsung. These manufacturers use updated versions of the operating system and modify as they see fit. The modifications they make often become the proprietary property of the manufacture. This explains why Android skins look different on some devices.

Android Skins Defined – What are Android Skins?

An Android skin is what you see when you are using an Android device. Compare almost any two Android devices side-by-side and you will notice a distinct difference between them. Android skins look different on some phones, most phones. Very few devices use the bare-bones or the “Stock” version of the skin.

When a manufacturer creates their own unique skin it changes the way that the user interface looks and the way it functions. Manufactures strive to create a unique look and experience for the user. Each particular skin has its own unique advantages and occasional pitfalls. This explains once again why Android skins look different on some phones.

OEM skins, at times controversial

Although OEM Android skins offer the users uniquely, and sometimes better experiences, they have been a controversial topic. There have been many cases where these OEM skins have made the Android operating system harder to navigate and more complicated to use. At times the skins add bloatware and get in the way of timely Android updates. Skins are different and Android skins look different on some phones.

Is an Android OEM Skin the Same as an Android Custom Theme?

No, not exactly.

  • OEM Android Skin — An android skin is considered a system-wide theme. It’s more than just the appearance characteristics. OEM skins not only change the look, but they also change things like the status bar, icons, and tiles. They also typically change or replace stock apps like Messaging and dialing.
  • Custom Themes — These themes can’t be used on devices that have an OEM skin installed. In order to use a different theme on those devices, you must install a custom ROM. Custom themes are similar to skins and the two terms are often used interchangeably. A good way to think about is that themes are typically less complicated than OEM skins.

Image by FreePik

Stock Android Skins Versus Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Interfaces

The ability to customize and the available choices are the strengths of the Android operating system. Most of the customizations that the users like the most were included in the “Stock” skin of the Android OS. The features and customizations have been designed into the Android OS in the way of OEM skins.

Many desirable innovations have been made during the creation of OEM skins. Manufacturers have added functionality, additional features, and have made the user interface sleek and intuitive. Although some OEM skins are heavy with bloatware and often are delayed in receiving updates, I like the concept of OEM skins. The newest work by Samsung is particularly pleasing to me.

The Most Popular Flavors of Android Skins

Last year the most popular Android skins were:

  • Oxygen OS (OnePlus) — Lots of users like Oxygen OS. It reminds users of a “Stock” Android. It’s loaded with features and is simple. It just comes with system apps and Google apps, there is no bloatware.
  • One UI (Samsung) — Samsung developed this one and released it with the launch of the Galaxy S10. It was a big improvement over the Experience UI. They created a long narrow phone that was one-handed friendly. The dark mode is one of the best. This updated skin is also available on some Galaxy watches.
  • Android One / Stock Android — This one goes back to 2014. It was created by Sundar Pichai while employed by Google. It is different from “Pure”, the original stock Android skin, but is highly customizable. It has no bloatware and is a great choice for developers that do not want to do a lot of customization during the creation of their unique Android skin.

The Best Free Themes For Android Phones

Most Android themes can be customized. Different Android themes can be customized in different ways for different looks, and sometimes, functionality. Android Skins Look Different on Some Phones. The link below will take you to a source for the best customizable android themes (all of them offer a free version).

10 best Android themes, theming apps, and customizations

5 Customizable Android Themes


1) Action Launcher
2) Energy Bar (Energy Ring)
3) KWGT and KLWP
4) Nova Launcher
5) Walli (4K – HD)

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Featured image by FullVector

Updated 02/15/2021 by Kirby Allen