Should Google start taking cues from the modding community?

The developers under the rooftops of HTC, Samsung, LG, and Google (as well as plenty of other manufacturing houses) are constantly hard at work on making the Android platform better. If it weren’t for HTC way back in the day launching the HTC Hero, custom proprietary user interfaces may not even be a topic point for Android today. And obviously our devices are getting better and better as times goes on, with Google putting their best foot forward when it comes to updating the stock version of Android. But there are other developers out there who are working just as hard, but by unofficial means. Fortunately, though, these developers are creating some of the best features for Android, and the only drawback for some people may be that you have to root your device to gain access to them.

One of the greatest treats of Android is the fact that developers, or anyone really thanks to some specific devs who make it their mission to make rooting a phone easy, have the ability to do almost anything they want. We’ve seen features from other devices and proprietary UIs appear in builds of a custom ROM, making a patchwork of features that create a finished product that could easily rival the final product from major houses like HTC or Samsung. What’s better, though, is when a developer goes forward and adds new features to the Android platform, breathing a breath of fresh air into their ROM, and Android as a whole.

The notification bar in Android is one of the best methods of notifications for a mobile platform. It always keeps the user up-to-date on what type of notifications are waiting for them, and it does it in an unobtrusive way. It’s only amplified by the notification shade, which allows the user to see in detail how many missed notifications they may have, whether it be email, missed calls, text messages, or even some specific game invitations. Basically, the notification bar and shade work in tandem to make notifications make sense on Android. But, if you’re looking for a way to remove specific notifications from the shade on a stock Android device, well, you’ll notice pretty quickly that you can’t. You’re perfectly able to remove all of the notifications in the shade and bar, but you can’t remove one message and keep the rest. Some may see it as a drawback, but it doesn’t seem to be a major issue for most.

But, being able to work a bit of triage in the notification shade wouldn’t be a bad thing. Motorola has included a limited ability to remove specific notifications within their most-updated skinned Android devices, but those who prefer a stock experience, it’s an all-or-nothing route. Thanks to the latest build of CyanogenMod, though, if you’re willing to root your device and install the custom software, you’d have the ability to swipe away notifications as you see fit. It’s a great addition, and it makes it pretty obvious why that feature should be included in all builds of Android.

And this something that Google should really take into consideration. Google’s main competitor doesn’t condone jailbreaking its devices, and they’ve worked pretty hard on closing down their entire ecosystem. However, developers have worked with what they have, and in the past we’ve seen the Cupertino-based company actually bring in the developers behind jailbroken applications. Why? Because they’ve created something that Apple likes, and want to incorporate it into their mobile OS. This is something that Google should start doing, especially for some specific developers out there who are making the most headway in the Android development community. These folks have some of the best ideas out there, and these are features that users of the stock version of Android would love to have, because new is always better (usually).

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear some developers wouldn’t want to be picked up by Google, but I imagine that a few of them out there would love to work for the company. There are so many different developers out there, an entire community creating new and amazing things for Android, that I find it hard to believe that this is something Google hasn’t done before. No doubt that Google has plenty of intelligent designers under their roof working on Android every day, but adding more talent and ideas to the pool is never a bad thing.

If you’ve rooted and modded your phone, what features have you noticed from developers that aren’t available in the stock Android experience that you’d like to see carried over eventually? Let me know in the comments below.

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