As manufacturer skins start to drift away from their bloated, feature-crazed origins, users are slowly realizing, for the most part, that this is what they've wanted all along. The Grace UX on the Galaxy Note 7, for example, received high praise despite being the furthest cry yet in a Samsung device from the original TouchWiz. A good amount of users these days are taking things a step further and showing a clear preference for a stock, or near-stock Android experience, like what can be found on Motorola phones. Despite this, many top OEMs stick to their guns and continue heavily skinning every phone they make. Some manufacturers are actually listening to consumers on this matter and delivering the goods, and if a poll on their website is any indication, ZTE may be the latest manufacturer to do so.
ZTE is asking members of their user community why they're more fond of stock and stock-ish Android builds via a poll. The poll's items include things like support for further development and custom ROMs, better overall performance, cleaner user interface, and less bloatware. ZTE's flagship phones, like the Axon series, already carry a pretty minimal Android skin in most territories, so this could be an indication that ZTE is looking to throw some stock Nougat goodness our way, likely with a few of their own apps packaged in for good measure.
As of this writing, cleaner user interface is the clear winner in the poll, and it's not hard to think of why. Most phones these days all perform quite adequately; the average consumer won't notice the half-second difference between launching Snapchat on their Galaxy S7 and a Pixel and immediately set to pining for Google's device. On the software side of things, most phones out there are updated pretty well these days, and phones that are going to be supportive of the developer community will do so with or without a skin, as seen with OnePlus' devices, for example. This means that a cleaner, easier, and subjectively prettier user interface is one of the biggest draws of stock Android right now; as of Nougat, the feature set competes with all but the heaviest skins, and the design is top-notch, with lots of eye-candy animations and soft colors. ZTE has not announced their plans surrounding this poll, aside from a "Mod Squad" that will reach out to users who put good reasoning behind their votes and reward them.