Lenovo has confirmed that it is dropping its Vibe Pure UI on all future smartphones and will be switching back to vanilla Android. This is a big change coming from their custom overlay that ran on top of Android.
According to Lenovo's head of smartphone product marketing Anuj Sharma in an interview with Gadgets360, the first phone to ship with stock Android will be the K8 Note (it'll feature Android 7.1.1 Nougat). The decision comes after seeking customer feedback and a nearly yearlong internal review process.
Moving away from their custom Android skin means Lenovo can offer OS updates directly from Google much faster. For example, all "K Series" smartphones launched this year will receive the Android O update.
Other brands like Samsung and LG that use heavily modified versions of Android are typically very slow to receive updates since they must be modified to work with the custom skin.
The move will put Lenovo more in line with Motorola (which it purchased in 2014 for $2.91 billion) as well as help reduce technical support costs and extend product life cycles.
Lenovo's first smartphones shipped with Vibe UI, a heavily bloated skin that ran on top of Android. After some incremental improvements, Lenovo released Vibe Pure UI in an attempt to reduce bloatware.
Since Lenovo sells phones in many international markets, coming to this standardized decision was a bit difficult. In China for example, Android isn't very popular when compared to custom skins but in the Indian market, stock Android is preferred.