Lenovo’s in-house smartphone software is going the way of the dodo. On Friday, the company confirmed that it’s halting developing of Vibe Pure UI, a custom experience that shipped on Lenovo phones running Google’s Android OS, such as the Lenovo K6 Power the company sold in India. Instead, it’ll adopt something closer to the stock version.
“What we have done in [the] last 11 months is we looked at what we had in terms of software perspective,” Anuj Sharma, Lenovo’s head of product marketing, told Gadgets 360 in an interview. “We have been close to the consumers and we saw what they were asking for. There was a certain trend and now we have decided to cut the Vibe Pure UI from our phones, [so] you will now get the stock Android which customers have been asking for.”
The motivation behind Vibe Pure UI was to reduce bloatware, the unwanted apps that carriers, manufacturers, and software developers preload on smartphones. But it wasn’t entirely successful, according to Sharma. “[In] China […] Android isn’t a very popular choice when you compare it to custom skins, [but] this is something for which Lenovo pushed really hard,” he said. “For the Indian market, the preference was with the stock Android experience.”
Lenovo isn’t completely abandoning its customizations, but the company’s future software will look a lot closer to the version that ships on Motorola phones like the Moto Z2 Force and Google’s Pixel-branded devices. With the exception of Dolby Atmos, Dolby’s audio-enhancing software tech, and TheaterMax, a wide-angle mode that stretches video apps to fill the entire screen, forthcoming handsets like Lenovo’s K8 Note and K6 Power will feature minimal design tweaks.
As an added benefit, stock Lenovo phones will get updated “more efficiently” to new versions of Android, Sharma said. The Lenovo K8 Note will be the first phone to ship with Android 7.1.1 Nougat. And Lenovo’s “K series” will receive an updated to Android O — the newest version — later this year, with timelines varying slightly on chip manufacturer support, internal development, and testing requirements. “It […] makes it easier to support for an extended period of time,” he said.
“There’s no more Vibe UI going forward and we are moving to complete stock Android for all out future Lenovo phones,” Sharma said. “It was a lengthy process to get done [as] Lenovo had to align all markets where it sold Android devices. This is a huge transition for our business perspective.”