Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 15th Oct 2013 21:53 UTC

The stock launcher in Android 4.4 is getting a version number bump - from 3.x to 4.x - and it's also renamed to Google Experience. On top of that, something interesting is happening.

There's another interesting thing happening here. If you take a look at stock Android 4.3, you will see that the current launcher's package name is The new one is Now look at Google's current selection of apps in the Play Store. Almost all of them start with "" instead of ""


I'm not saying with 100% certainty that we're going to see the launcher released to the Play Store, but to me, it certainly looks like it. At least eventually and not necessarily with KitKat.

Other currently integrated parts of Android also receive the name change in their packages. It seems like Google is finally doing what it should have done ages ago. If you can't get device makers and carriers to update Android, just put as much of Android as possible in the Play Store. If this also allows crapware-riddled devices from e.g. Samsung to be converted to proper stock, then that's a big plus too.

Please let this be true.

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On the one hand carriers want customisation and differentiation, they have no interest in being just another seller of a stock experience, and why should the.

That's exactly what I want a carrier to be: a dumb pipe. IHMO, they shouldn't even be selling the phones. Ideally, the phones would be completely disconnected from the carrier, and the carrier's whole job would be in providing a reliable, dumb pipe for talk, text, and data. Any differentiation on the part of the carrier with regards to the phones is a huge negative IMHO. They should be differentiating on price and quality of service.

Now, unfortunately, due the differences in technologies and frequencies across carriers, we're far from being able to have the phones be completely carrier-agnostic (at least in the US), but that should be the goal IMHO, and any attempts on the part of carriers to do anything to the phones at all beyond sell them is a detriment to consumers.

It's bad enough that manufacturers are screwing with stock android rather than just selling stock android with additional apps in the app store (which possibly just work with their phones). I sure don't want the carriers throwing yet more junk on the phones like they seem to like to do. I bought my phone from the app store specifcally because both the carriers and manufacturers insist on screwing with the phones rather than providing stock android with all of their add-ons being purely optional.

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