Bloatware has been with us since the early days of desktop and laptop computers. OEMs “pre-packaged” applications that the thought would “add value” and make their products more desirable than their competition. Of course this meant their competition would respond by simply adding even more on their computers.
Eventually, software vendors got the idea of providing “incentives” to OEMs for pre-bundling software. This lead to some computers coming so pre-loaded with bloatware that some OEMs began offering customization services to remove the pre-loaded apps — for a fee.
We’ve seen the same sort of bloatware coming on our smartphones and tablets — especially those from US carriers. Some phones come with dozens of pre-loaded apps. Unfortunately, unlike desktop and laptop computers, you can’t easily uninstall them. Bloatware on your phone and tablet are installed as “system” apps. You can’t remove them without rooting your device.
Thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean you can “disable” these apps in your settings. But doing so will only keep these apps from running and hide their icons from you. The apps are still there, eating up precious storage space.
Many carriers are getting the message: people don’t like bloatware. One carrier, Verizon, seems to have missed the memo. They just announced that “a suite of Amazon apps will come preloaded” (SIC) on all their newly launched Android devices (Google experience devices, thankfully, are excluded). In this case, not only are the apps pre-installed, they’ll also be placed on their own “dedicated home screen”.
The apps in question are from Amazon:
To add insult to injury, Verizon’s internal memo on this topic says that pre-loading these apps “will improve customer satisfaction”.
Hey Verizon, if you want to really “improve customer satisfaction”, how about asking us if we want to install this stuff while we’re setting up our phones? You could even collect “installation experience data” to see just how many people really want these apps forced on them.
What’s the most bloatware that you’ve found pre-installed on one of your phones? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments!