Android overlays: How do they compare?

Not all Android phones are created equal. Manufacturer-created overlays change the look and feel of Android

By Armando Rodriguez and Ginny Mies, PC World |  Personal Tech, Android

One of the many great things about Android is its openness--and by extension, its customizability. Unlike Apple's iOS, Android allows phone manufacturers to build overlays, or skins, that run atop the operating system. These overlays can change the look and feel of Android, and even add features not normally included in the stock build. Not all overlays are created equal, however. We'll walk you through the three most common skins and highlight the good, the bad, and the ugly of custom overlays.

Motorola Motoblur

Where is it found? On all Motorola-branded Android phones (except the Motorola Droid)

For people who find the social offerings of stock Android a little sparse and who would like to receive status updates at a glance, Motoblur is great. Motoblur offers a variety of widgets for keeping you connected to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Motoblur leaves most of the Android OS alone, but adds in neat features such as remote wiping (if your phone is stolen, you can wipe all the data from your Motoblur account on a PC), GPS tracking, and live widgets that can give you real-time updates on your various social networks. Motoblur backs up your data to its servers; if you do end up wiping out your phone, you can restore it by signing in to your Motoblur account.

However, Motoblur can be quite obtrusive at times, and it can easily overwhelm your home screen with Facebook and Twitter updates. Motoblur replaces the native Android Gallery app with its own app, and strangely enough you can't access Google Picasa from the Motoblur gallery app. Picasa users out there may want to give Motoblur a pass.

It's also important to note that Motorola toned down Motoblur to some extent on Verizon's Droid line of phones so as to make them feel less cluttered than other Motoblur-enabled handsets.

Samsung TouchWiz

Where is it found? Samsung's Galaxy S line of smartphones


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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