Lenovo ditches Vibe Pure UI, will ship stock Android on all future phones

Motorola's focus on an uncluttered software experience allowed its phones to stand out, and its parent company Lenovo is following suit. The company has confirmed that it is abandoning its Vibe Pure UI skin in favor of stock Android, with the upcoming K8 Note the first phone to ship with Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box.

According to Anuj Sharma, Lenovo India's head of marketing for the mobile unit, the move was motivated by customer feedback. Speaking to Gadgets 360, Sharma said:

What we have done in last 11 months is we looked at what we had in terms of software perspective. We have been close to the consumers and we saw what they were asking for. There was a certain trend and we have now decided to cut the Vibe Pure UI off from our phones. So you will now get the stock Android which consumers have been asking for.There's no more Vibe UI going forward and we are moving to complete stock Android for all our future Lenovo phones. This is a huge transition for our business perspective.

Lenovo will still add a few enhancements to take advantage of Dolby Atmos and TheaterMax, two technologies it has pushed in recent times. Aside from that, however, its devices will run a clean version of Android without any customizations.

Sharma talked about the difficulties involved in getting rid of its custom skin, and mentioned that going with stock Android will lead to faster updates:

It was a lengthy process to get done. As Lenovo had to align all markets where it sold Android devices. The cultural differences that came in where for example in China Android isn't a very popular choice when you compare it to custom skins. But this was something for which Lenovo pushed really hard. For the Indian market, the preference was with stock Android experience.The stock Android will also mean that it will be more efficiently updated to next Android OS. It also makes it easier to support for extended period of time.

It's certainly a welcome move from Lenovo, one that makes its budget devices that much more enticing. The K8 Note will be making its debut in India on August 9, so stay tuned for more.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • Great job Lenovo! I can consider purchasing a Lenovo device now.
  • ^This. Good decision by Lenovo.
    Any idea @Harish if they will implement this on their current group of phones.
  • That's unlikely.
  • I can confirm that they have updated Lenovo K6 power Android 6.0 on Pure UI to stock 7.0. I hated their pure UI notification bar.
  • wish Samsung might follow suit!
  • I wish every manufactor do follow suit!
  • There wouldn't be a variety if that happens
  • there won't be diversity in terms of software experience. it'll all be boring with the same UX .delayed software updates a side i like what Samsung and LG do with Android
  • Samsung outsells all other Android phones by leaps and bounds, they have no reason to follow suit
  • They won't. Stock Android is crap, aside from a group od bloggers and tech geeks noone buys phones with stock Android. 5 biggest Android OEMs have heavy skins and their phones are selling like hot cakes.
  • I've been a fan of Lenovo because of their ThinkPad line of business class feature loaded laptops & docking stations. Never tried one of their Android devices... But this move makes me feel a lot better about trying them. Not only was it a great move technically, but I just gained tons of respect for them. They want to listen to and please their customers! Not just that, but cater to them as well! Whoa!!
  • I recently saw one of their computers with stylus and thought, "Lenovo should make a Galaxy Note competitor" - I love the Note, but it needs competition and we need choices even if we insist on a phone with stylus. Do it, Lenovo!
  • Hope they improve their updates. My Lenovo P2 hasn't had a single OTA update yet. Really need the Nougat update to cure the YouTube problem with the picture and sound being our of sync.
  • Yeah Lenovo!!
  • Sounds like good news, as someone rocking the Moto X Pure with its December 2016 security update and 6.0, maybe that means future phones will have security updates within 7 months of their issue and possibly even 3 a year. Naw, I'm just dreaming.
  • I may give them a look now, def a good move on their end.
  • I'm an Old-school #BlackBerry FanBoy and have just made the switch.... hesitantly I might add to #Android. Couldnt wait on the availability of KEYOne So far so good.... impressed.
  • With regards to ditching their own UI for stock: Good Move. However, more importantly Google Android OS SECURITY updates desperately need to be more frequent. In general we are as safe as our latest update (Security)... ;-). I have the
    #LenovoP2 with her BIG A*S Battery. 5100mAh
  • OK, Samsung is the most popular Android device make for one reason alone: Their Hardware. It is for this reason, that people tolerate their mostly mediocre software. Year after year, Samsung continues to impress with fantastic designs, best in class screen technology, and one of the best Android smartphone cameras on the market. Then, there is Samsung Pay, which is more useful and works better than any other Tap-to-pay service on the market. They also tend to have to-end specs in their devices, and it is for these reasons that I continue to put up with Sammy. The moment this stops being the case, I will dump Samsung in a heartbeat. I would love a pure, stock Android phone with Samsung's hardware. That would be near perfect.
    That being said, Samsung does some things well on the software side: Their browser, for instance, is better than Chrome. And the pen software on the note is better than any other that I've used (Surface is a close second). Also, their camera software seems to be top notch. My point is that While most of us desire stock Android, Samsung has no reason to stop doing what they are doing. They have invested too much $$ in their brand - and that includes the software experience. The moment another Phone maker comes out with a device that matches or beats a Galaxy Note device in features, hardware, and design, I'm dropping Samsung and their sloppy software with the quickness.
  • I must admit it would be nice to try a phone with pure Android again. It's been so long since I've seen that. I don't know though. I like Touch Wizz and LG Home pretty well so it might be boring as heck.
  • What exactly do you like about Touch Wizz? Is it the lag which it introduces into an otherwise damn near flawless OS? Is it the lack of updates it guarantees that you love so much? Perhaps the name? Touchwiz is an unholy abomination which must be purged from Android, it has ensured that I'll never buy a Samsung phone after the Gnex.
  • This is great news.
  • This is awesome! However, now that there committed to near stock android they need to make updates a priority!! Lenovo no longer has any excuse for late software updates.
  • Having stock Android is great, but it's not exactly the same as what Google is doing. Google is providing stock Android independent of the carriers and without their bloatware. My guess is this won't be the case here. And that's significant, since it means that the carriers will still have their hands in the update process, which means we can still expect delayed updates. Maybe not as delayed as now, but they won't be released like Nexus/Pixel updates are.
  • Yeah, I'm inclined to agree. I can only imagine what carriers like Sprint, or worse Verizon will do with their heavy bloatware. I'm not expecting Pixel speed updates but something like a 3 month time-frame can't be unreasonable to make.
  • Wow! I never would have expected this from Lenovo. Now if they can find a way to provide actual customer service for their products other than endless forums they might actually do well in the US market.
  • BFD! still take them years to update. #nomoremoto
  • Moto phones never had the Vibe Pure UI.
  • Imagine Samsung and LG going pure. That would truly be something.