Three years ago I wrote an article that expressed my (and others) distaste for the Android device experience at that time. Many of us were just coming off the hype of the (og) Motorola Droid and rooting and roms were on the rise. Then came the Droid X and Droid 2 which were the successor to the Droid. The Droid X sported a larger 4.3 inch screen with an updated 1GHz processor while the Droid 2 had a better keyboard, better 3.5 mm jack point (which solved the problem of music cutting out that some users experienced with the (og) Motorola Droid), and a faster processor. But, with the upgrades came blur along with one of the first locked bootloaders. Blur came loaded with software such as Blockbuster, Need for Speed, etc which were trial versions meant to get users to sign up for the subscription version. The problem with the software (later termed bloatware) was that they could not be uninstalled, yet they took up space. Adding to that, the services blur was running in the background were actually slowing down the phone as well as eating battery life. This led to a movement to voice our frustrations to both Verizon and Motorola, (http://www.droidforums.net/forum/an...re-loaded-apps-see-how-take-action-today.html). Of course, at that time, we really did not know if it would make a difference. Fast forward to now and my how far have we come. Yeah we still have bloatware and manufacturer skins but skins have come a long way. They are more useful (Touchwiz' features) as well as the hardware to support the skin where the phone has a smooth experience. I rarely see any lagging issues on my device (the only time I may get a hint of lag is when installing an app when the app's icon is just popping up in the app drawer), but that is rare and for a split second. I still have my Droid 2 and every now and then ill charge it up and play around with it just to remind me where technology was 3 years ago. The other change that has taken place is the option to buy developer devices, Nexus, and Google Play Edition devices. Those of us wanting a phone clean of custom skins now have a choice. Would we like it to have been offered as a carrier option? Of course; but with more and more people wanting to get away from subsidies and long term carrier contracts, the price we are going to pay for a carrier phone full price matches what we will pay for a Google Edition. Plus we also have Nexus devices that provide us the high end experiences for mid range prices. So that is a big win for those of us who wanted Nexus and Google experience devices back in the day. Another big win (for now we will have to see what happens with Lenovo before we can chalk it down as a true victory) is that Motorola has done a 180...or 360 if you had a Motorola Droid. We are seeing a return to innovation along with skins that are as close to vanilla Android as Google edition devices. Add to that the ability to truly customize the device with Moto Maker, the option to buy an unlockable device with the developer edition, and the lower price point, and we see that Motorola is slowly working their way back into the hearts of enthusiasts. So, have we won the battle against bloatware (and locked devices)? I would say yes, not that we have gotten to the point where users can remove bloat on all carrier phones but at least you have an option to buy a phone without it. Yeah it would have been better to allow me the user to remove apps off the phone I purchased from the carrier but I do not see us winning that battle. Whatever money the carriers are making selling that space is too good for them to give up, but giving users an alternative makes up for that. So to those that rallied signing petitions, emailing, calling, and web chatting verizon and motorola your voice has been heard. So to you and those who voted with their wallets I say thank you. As well as thank you to the carriers and manufactures who provided those devices for us to buy. Are those devices as vast as the carrier devices, no, but it really do not need to be because the reality is that the people who care about bloat, carrier skins, and unlockable bootloaders are few but to us few we can say we have a place in the market place where we can shop. I hope that manufacturers continue to provide us with the quality alternatives to choose from.