, and are being used interchangeably, and belong lumped together under "stock-android."

Also, I took it upon myself to define stock-android but folks should weigh in about whether that's really what we mean by "stock"

  • 2
    Good conversation below; I look forward to the final resolution. Let's not forget, however, that the tags also matter in the context of this site.
    – ale
    Mar 27 '11 at 19:25
  • I've been able to clear "stock" and "vanilla", but there are 31 questions with "stock-android". It's going to take some time to clean up.
    – ale
    Mar 29 '11 at 13:12
  • @Al Everett Are we just removing them or replacing with something else?
    – Daniel
    Mar 29 '11 at 20:18
  • @Daniel: I don't know. That's what we're discussing.
    – ale
    Mar 30 '11 at 12:51
  • This came up again and was ultimately addressed: Confusion between stock-android and stock-ui tags Jul 3 '12 at 14:29

I think a better definition for "stock" is a manufacturer/carrier-blessed ROMs for a particular device, including upgrades. I prefer to define it this way because some people may not realize that they have an upgraded ROM due to automatic OTA upgrades.

And "vanilla" are ROM which attempts to be as close as possible to original AOSP ROMs (e.g. by removing carrier/manufacturer customization and adding none of their own customization). A vanilla ROM may or may not be produced by a third-party.

In particular, only "Pure Google Experience" phones (e.g. G1, Nexus One, Nexus S), had a ROM that is both stock (comes with the device) and vanilla (no manufacturer/carrier customization).

  • Fortunately (or unfortunately?) the few uses of "vanilla" didn't add enough to the post to warrant making the distinction. That's not to say that "vanilla" isn't a meaningful adjective, but rather that we don't have a real need for the tag here.
    – Amanda
    Mar 26 '11 at 16:09
  • check out the link that Amanda posted and then look under "Adjective" (which is how we are using it on the site), as I mentioned in my comment "In another word, 'vanilla'". Stock and vanilla have similar meaning. Here are some examples of other members too Bryan, Bryan again, another question
    – Daniel
    Mar 26 '11 at 17:40
  • @Amanda, @Lie (see above) cont...Difference between HTC Sense and Stock, De-branding the phone and installing Stock Android
    – Daniel
    Mar 26 '11 at 17:42
  • I actually agree with Lie's definitions of both "stock" and "vanilla" in as far as these terms are applied to Android for the purposes of the Android SE.
    – newuser
    Mar 26 '11 at 21:43
  • I agree with these definitions entirely. Mar 28 '11 at 13:20

I wonder if we need these tags at all.

People seem to be mostly using them to describe their devices, not to help categorize the question. That's the wrong use for them. Most of the time when I see tags like this or tags for devices, Android versions, or for a specific mod, the issue they're having has nothing to do with any of that. In fact, it makes things worse, because it will lead people to think that a solution that worked for someone's modded Galaxy S won't work for their unmodded Droid X and they'll ask a duplicate question.

But that's beyond the scope of what we're discussing.

I think "unmodified" should be the default position. I mean, unless someone specifies that they've used a mod, then it should be assumed they haven't.

And, unless it's a problem that has been solved by a mod, there's no need to mention that the device in question is not modified.

I suggest then that all three of the tags in question be removed. If there remain any questions where the unmodified state of the device is germane to the question, then "unmodified" makes a pretty unambiguous tag.

Update: I've looked at a few of the and it's clear that we need to keep this tag or some variant. Many of the questions deal with returning a device to its unrooted, unmodified state. Some others are dealing with the standard Android UI (i.e., lacking HTC Sense, Moto BLUR, etc.). One of the latter, at least, I've tagged with (and to which I will add a description post haste).

So now I'm back-tracking on trying to eliminate the three tags originally brought up. When the question doesn't have anything to do with whether the phone is "stock" or not, they should still be removed. However, there are questions dealing with returning to "stock" or comparing the differences between "stock" and a mod or "stock" and manufacturer/carrier customizations. Those, I think, still need to have a tag of some sort.

Perhaps questions about returning the device to its state before it came out of the box should be "factory-setting" or "factory-state". That should unambiguously cover returning a phone to its original state.

  • 1
    I agree. I didn't dig a lot deeper than "folks are using 'stock' and 'vanilla' interchangeably" -- as Daniel points out "stock" is pretty meaningless on its own. I suspect people are rifling through the available tags to add any that seem to apply. I support ditching it altogether.
    – Amanda
    Mar 28 '11 at 13:10
  • I agree. I can't even see "unmodified" actually being a good tag; who would look at that category? Mar 28 '11 at 13:22
  • @MatthewRead: I don't think it's a good tag either, but I was just wondering what to use if the fact the device was unmodified was germane to the question.
    – ale
    Mar 28 '11 at 13:23
  • @Al Understood. I think it would be enough to say so in the question in that case. Mar 28 '11 at 13:24
  • @Al Everett Yeah thats perfect. We don't need these tags - we assume their device is stock unless they say so
    – Daniel
    Mar 28 '11 at 16:23
  • @Al: I can see a tendency for "factory-setting" or "factory-state" to be misused by people who think that those tags refer to general settings or the out of the box configuration. Returning to the factory state is only relevant to those who have made some kind of modification so how about the tag: "unmod"?
    – Matt
    Mar 29 '11 at 21:29
  • @Matt: We do have an "unroot" tag. "Unmod" wouldn't be so bad. It's kind of awkward, though.
    – ale
    Mar 30 '11 at 12:51
  • The only reason I'd hesitate on unroot is that users can install custom ROMs without rooting. unmod is a little weird but it's pithy.
    – Matt
    Mar 30 '11 at 13:12

After thinking about this some more and looking around online I decided to edit my original answer. (Original Post labeled further down below).

If you look at the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus entry for "stock" you can see that a few other words for "stock" are "standard", "normal", and "regular". So to me, "stock-Android" is the Android that comes in the SDK or from AOSP. Plain and simple. Its the unaltered version of Android that Google puts out for use (this is on "Pure Google Experience" phones as Lie Ryan said). That said it would make more sense instead for it to be and or even better and . That way we know exactly what stock Android the person is talking about. Currently by itself tells us nothing and if you were to search by that tag you would get posts ranging from Android 1.5 - 3.0. And if we defined it is as "android that comes with your phone", when you searched the tag you would get questions that are totally different and might relate to Sense, Touchwiz or Motoblur.

I think Amanda has a good idea to define a tag for the stock ROM that comes on a device - but I don't think conveys the correct message. Instead it should be something like "stock-[insert device name]" (this would mean a tag for every device) or something like (so that we could just define one tag and it would indicate that whatever device they are talking about had the stock ROM). Here's actually an example here on Android Enthusiasts where the question and answer refer to "stock ROM" as being the original device ROM not "stock Android"

In all the time I've been playing with custom Android ROMs, hanging out on XDA and dabbling in development (since before Android 1.1 - I loaded stock Android 1.0 on my HTC Tilt before I even got an Android phone) I've never read "stock Android" referring to the stock Android that came on a device. Instead ROM builders would refer to it as a "stock HTC Hero ROM" or "stock HTC EVO ROM". When I was putting Android on my Tilt it was called "stock Android" but thats because thats exactly what it was - plain, default, AOSP Android.

I thought it might help to see some examples of what I mean:

Examples here on Android Enthusiasts:

Examples from XDA-developers:

Examples from other sites:

I apologize if I'm beating this to death but I think its pretty clear that our users, other sites, as well as Google itself (see the Engadget link) would consider "stock Android" as the unaltered version of Android that Google puts out for use.

That said, if I am still wrong please let me know and if the Android Enthusiasts community thinks differently then I'm down with whatever we all decide to do. :)

Original Post Below:

I think is a great tag but I'm not sure I agree with the definition. I may be wrong but AOSP ROMs like CyanogenMod are considered "stock Android" and/or "vanilla Android" but obviously if you have this on your device it does not have the original ROM it shipped with.

Maybe a tag like (maybe or something similar versus ) would be helpful when asking for help with the ROM that shipped with a device. Although nearly every question would have one of those tags. The plus side to that though is it would help eliminate one of the first questions we usually ask "Are you using a custom ROM?"

  • 2
    I think of "stock" as meaning "the way it came when you bought it" in general, at least as it applies to goods (as opposed to broth or cows). So any ROM that didn't ship with your phone is by definition not "stock" secure.wikimedia.org/wiktionary/en/wiki/stock
    – Amanda
    Mar 25 '11 at 23:22
  • I would agree with you on that if the phone had vanilla Android. If you read further down, under "Adjective", on that link you have there you'll read: "Straightforward, plain, very basic". In another word, "vanilla". In my experience most people refer to stock Android as the unaltered one from Google. Since AOSP ROMs are close (if not the same), they tend to be considered "stock Android".
    – Daniel
    Mar 25 '11 at 23:36
  • I was thinking about it more and I agree with you as well if you were talking about a "stock EVO" or a "stock Droid X". Talking about a stock device makes me think of how the device came when you bought it (so maybe we need a stock-device tag - which may be overkill). However when you say "stock Android" it doesn't refer to a device so it would seem you are talking about "vanilla Android". Does anyone else have any thoughts on this or is it just me and Amanda? :)
    – Daniel
    Mar 26 '11 at 0:02
  • 1
    @Amanda: How about official OTA upgrades? Official upgrades did not come with the device when you buy it, but they are IMO a stock.
    – Lie Ryan
    Mar 26 '11 at 6:43
  • Lie Ryan, agreed. I actually did include official updates in my definition.
    – Amanda
    Mar 26 '11 at 16:08
  • @Amanda: oh yeah, sorry about that, I didn't notice them the first time around
    – Lie Ryan
    Mar 26 '11 at 16:13
  • @Amanda See my comment as well on Lie Ryan's answer. Maybe I'm taking this view coming from a development side of the fence. Think if you were to go to an one of Google's Android developers and ask him if my wife's HTC Evo with HTC Sense was stock Android. I highly doubt he would agree with you - I may be wrong though. If you were to say its a stock Evo then yes he would agree - but not to it having stock Andorid.
    – Daniel
    Mar 26 '11 at 17:48
  • 3
    We don't want to have a "stock" tag for every device or even every version of the OS. I'm also starting to think that people are using these existing tags to indicate their device is unmodded. Frankly, I think that should be the default position. Even so, whether it's modded or not seldom has anything to do with the question. People are using tags to describe their device and not the question.
    – ale
    Mar 28 '11 at 12:21
  • Al Everett, agreed.
    – Amanda
    Mar 28 '11 at 12:28
  • @Al Everett Good point (+1) - seeing the tag applied to the device and not Android in general makes sense and I can agree with. I was looking at it from the view that they were describing Android in general - which is why I didn't think a user with Sense or whatever should call it 'stock'. And I totally agree with your first sentence in that comment - I was just trying to provide as many options as possible for a solution.
    – Daniel
    Mar 28 '11 at 16:13
  • Why the downvote?
    – Daniel
    Mar 28 '11 at 16:24

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