HTC One (M8) – Wrapping it all Up

That being said, KitKat has come a long way since Gingerbread; and more importantly one of the biggest things that I noticed after turning the HTC One (M8) on was that there wasn’t a lot of glitz and goo coming out of the device’s seams. KitKat was definitely Android, but the distro that came with the (M8) from Verizon was clean and fast. You have the ability to put a number of different home screens on the device, and you can toss any number of different widgets on them. However, if you want to keep your device running fast, the fewer home screens with fewer widgets is recommended.

In all, I was very pleased with what I saw of KitKat. It seems quick, capable and clean. It doesn’t seem to get in its own way, as previous versions of Android were ought to do, in my opinion…
HTC Sense
I don’t know why device manufacturers continue to put skins or different UI’s on top of Android. Most of the time, people root their Android device because they love the device but hate the version of Android that the device is running and want something that isn’t so bloated and run down. In many cases, this amounts to Android widgets and other framework or background apps being run and taking up processing power and RAM. As such, HTC has taken a LOT of their traditional eye candy OUT of Android. While their devices definitely benefit from not having to run all of the graphic intensive eye candy and therefore have a better performing device, they did include some HTC specific widgets, but you have a great deal of choices, including some from some of the Verizon installed software (discussed below).

The HTC One (M8) Widget Selection Screen

That being said, what little I’ve done with the device, really hasn’t required the use of a lot of widgets. Thank goodness… Widgets may be really cool, but they tend to eat up processor cycles and RAM and slow the device. You should balance your desire for eye candy with your desire for device performance if you decide to have a lot of home screens and a lot of widgets.
Verizon Bloatware
If you could see my right now, you’d see me slowly shaking my head, wondering what the heck Verizon is doing in the software business. The HTC One (M8) comes with at least a dozen different apps. You can see their icons in the Verizon folder that comes with the device and is created during the initial setup process that is initiated by the Setup Wizard (it has an icon in the folder, too).

Much of what you see in the screenshot above, you – nor anyone else for that matter – will ever use. Many of the apps are holdouts from a previous life (read: back in the days of Windows Mobile and Pocket PC phones). Most users will never open, let alone use, apps like Mobile Hotspot, Verizon Tones and VZ Navigator. You can – or should be able to – manage the HTC One (M8) as a mobile hotspot from within KitKat. Verizon Tones is a ring tone store, and VZ Navigator is a Google Maps replacement premium service. I don’t know why you would use it, when Google Maps is free, you use the same bandwidth cap to power its data needs, and the maps, likely come from the same provider (or are just as accurate). Message+ is a sad, sad app that Verizon hijacked out of KitKat and put their own branding on. You’re going to have no choice BUT to use it if you want to send text messages, which really irks me to no end. I wish Verizon would just keep its hands OUT of apps like a text messaging app. Their app doesn’t offer anything I can’t get either directly out of Android, or from another, better written 3rd party app (like WhatsApp.)

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