The Stupidity Of Installing Bloatware That No One Uses... And Everyone Hates

from the just-a-bad-idea-all-around dept

A new study from Strategy Analytics highlights what you almost certainly already know, that no one actually uses the crappy bloatware apps that Samsung puts on its phones. This shouldn't be a surprise at all. But I actually wanted to highlight a different issue I'd noticed recently: which is that not only do people not use the bloatware apps, by making them both default and unintstallable, Samsung pretty guarantees that everyone hates those apps.

Now, I can imagine the execs at various app developers who got all excited when they had a chance to become a default app on a Samsung flagship phone like the S3, S4 or S5. After all, Samsung sells a ton of these phones. So if Samsung approaches you and offers to make you a default, it's got to be hard to say no. Because what they're offering is to put your app in front of many millions of potential users. And given the big hurdle of getting people to even download free apps, that must seem like a huge victory.

Until you realize that everyone hates unnecessary and unwanted bloatware. Beyond the study above showing that no one uses those apps, I recently looked at the Google Play Store reviews of many of the Samsung choices for bloatware. And pretty consistently, the large majority or reviews are about how they don't know why the app is on their phone and they're pissed that they can't delete it. Take, for example, Blurb Checkout, part of Samsung's near-totally-useless "book-making app." People absolutely loathe it almost entirely because it's a bloatware default app. Out of over 22,000 reviews, it has over 16,000 one star reviews. And nearly all of the reviews look like the "highlighted" ones on the page:
Or how about the Lumen Toolbar? Frankly, I have no idea what it does, but it's there. The aggregate reviews on this aren't quite as bad as Blurb above, and there do appear to be some people who really do like this toolbar. But the reviews are still filled with angry rants:
I'm sure HP thought it was a great way to jumpstart its mobile printing efforts by having its HP Print Service Plugin installed as default bloatware on Samsung (and, apparently, on Nexus) devices. Until everyone started yelling about how they want that crap off their phone.
And, of course, none of this even touches on Samsung's own apps, in which it has weak copies of much better apps out there, such as S Health, S Memo and S Voice -- all of which are stuck on your phone, even though there are much better and much more functional alternatives available in the Play Store and elsewhere. The thing is, all of these apps could be the greatest possible apps in the world, but by making them part of preinstalled bloatware and making it so you can't uninstall them, it's pretty much guaranteeing that people will hate on these apps, making it even worse than just not using them -- they're actively harming the reputations of those apps for folks who might actually like them.

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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 3:58am

    This article deserves to be printed in stone tablets and mailed to all electronics manufacturers. Maybe some software manufacturers too (M$ with Windows bundled software and utorrent/vuze come to mind).

    I rooted my old Galaxy S and removed the bloatware manually. My phone performance improved fairly. If these apps were only taking my precious memory space it would be not as bad but they are often consuming my resources too, even when I deactivated them.

    At some point they will stop wasting money bundling such crap with the hardware. Till then we root.

    As a side note I'd also love app developers to assume their apps are important enough they want the full internal memory speed and won't allow you to move them to external SDs. I should be the one deciding it, not the developer. Again, we root.

     

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    Violynne (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 4:56am

    Read the report yesterday and dismissed it for being completely useless.

    Just because Samsung makes the phone, it's still a Google device. When users start up the device for the very first time, it's a Google account request which shows up, not a Samsung request. This doesn't happen until one actually opens a Samsung app.

    As for being unable to uninstall, what difference does this make? These apps aren't invasive, nor do they interfere with anything else, and the file sizes aren't even an issue.

    I can understand the argument if people didn't have control on what apps they can use, but this isn't the case. Instead, we see 250 people being monitored because they bought a phone to connect their Google accounts, not their Samsung accounts.

    I'd be more concerned if people are making an issue out of nothing because they haven't figured out how to customize their device.

    The other extreme has figured it out, and that's rooting the device and flashing the OS to remove the bloatware.

    *holds up Galaxy S2 with Cyanogen mod.

    Heh. >:]

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:37am

    Unfortunately, as long as they are people willing to PAY them to install that bloatware, it doesn't really matter whether it's effective or not, does it?

     

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    Mr.Enlarged_Prostate, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:50am

    bloatin' down the river..

    The bloatware loads into memory that's why it should be removable. Hardware is more demanding and needs all the space it can get.

     

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  5.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:50am

    Re:

    Its been 20 years of bloatware with no end in sight. I wish I could believe you when you say "eventually". But I don't.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:54am

    Re:

    memory space is a resource - just sayin.

     

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    Some Techie, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:55am

    While bloatware is a pain in the ass, it CAN be removed. It's a somewhat risky process, but once an Android device has been rooted, there are apps out there designed specifically to remove these apps from the ROM. Or, there are custom ROMs that are free of junk.

    That's what I've done with each and every Android device I've ever owned. It's like AdBlock for your apps!

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:58am

    Re:

    What percentage of users have the knowledge / capabilities to root their devices? The point is, OEMs should not be forcing shit their customers do not want. Seems like a marketing opportunity for the competition to offer a no BS device.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:00am

    Re:

    Yes, because there is so much competition out there. One could easily go elsewhere to purchase what they want - amirite?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:03am

    In my experience, one of the most popular uses for pirate versions of Windows XP was to remove all the crap that came pre-installed with most OEMs, especially since they went from providing actual OS CDs to simple images with everything pre-installed. I still know people who swear by the black editions, highly configurable versions that allow you to install the OS at a far smaller size than the standard install by not installing the random bloat nobody uses (such as drivers that most people jsut download when needed anyway).

    It's a damn shame that a vendor for supposedly FOSS software can't learn the lessons being taught by Windows over a decade ago, but there you go. Commerce beats common sense in corporations every time. From what I've read, the profit margins for these apps is often worth the risk of losing paying customers by using them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:04am

    Re: bloatin' down the river..

    The hardware is more demanding? I suppose - some hardware needs drivers. For the most part, demands upon real memory originate with the OS and application software used.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:07am

    Re:

    ROM refers to Read Only Memory. Strictly speaking, there is no changing the contents. Perhaps what you have done is flash an EPROM?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:09am

    Re:

    "profit margins for these apps is often worth the risk of losing paying customers by using them"

    the new payola?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:15am

    Re: Re:

    What?

    Bloatware=advertisng=money to the company that puts it in front of customers.

    or

    Bloatware=Spyware=better able to put adverts in front of customers.

     

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  15.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:25am

    Re:

    I have a Nexus 4 that took me about 3 minutes to get sick of it and flash with Cyanogen. But even with that, I despise bloatware.

    It's an Android phone. Android phones are specifically advertised to be fully customizable. They're for people who don't want the walled garden of the iPhone. When you get apps forced upon you, it goes against everything that Android stands for.

    I won't even go into the fact that probably 90% of people can't/don't want to root their phone.

    I do want to say that the Samsung keyboard sucks compared to the one in Cyanogen Mod.

     

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  16.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re:

    Pretty much. I've not seen actual figure breakdowns but I've listened to or read more than one comment by a software developer telling how shocked they were at the per-user payments on offer and how they had to call their own morals into question.

     

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  17.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:27am

    Re:

    At some point they will stop wasting money bundling such crap with the hardware.
    Not likely, If it's like all the bloatware that comes pre-installed on OEM PCs--The software-makers are the ones paying the manufacturers to bundle that crap with the hardware. I seriously doubt the hardware manufacturers would be willing to turn down free money. Plus, it reduces the cost of the manufacturing the hardware--meaning more profit with little extra work involved.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:34am

    Re:

    When users start up the device for the very first time, it's a Google account request which shows up, not a Samsung request.

    I think it might be a Google account first, and then a Samsung account second. You have to have a Samsung account to start the phone.

    As for being unable to uninstall, what difference does this make? These apps aren't invasive, nor do they interfere with anything else, and the file sizes aren't even an issue.
    The issue is that the apps are running in the background, at device startup, and you probably can't turn it off.

    People shouldn't have to Root in order to use their phone.

     

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  19.  
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    Not Allan Tang, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:47am

    When printed pictures, only ones of d1cks show up but they are not mine. What happening HP?

    What?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What?

    If given a choice which device would the typical user purchase, one with crapware or one without?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re:

    "These apps aren't invasive, nor do they interfere with anything else, and the file sizes aren't even an issue."

    Opinions, everyone has one

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:01am

    Any app that's not absolutely required for basic functionality is bloatware. Why? Because I didn't ask for it and it slows down my device for nothing.

    Even annoying apps like Facebook that you can't remove is bloatware.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Assuming that they notice the bloatware while in the shop, and given identical phones, do they buy the cheaper one with, or the expensive one without the bloatware?

     

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  24.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:09am

    Re: Re:

    But in the end you can always uninstall bloatware pre-loaded on a PC or laptop fairly easily. The only way on a phone is to root it...which may be above a lot of users heads.

     

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  25.  
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    Dennis F. Heffernan (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:25am

    I most vehemently concur.

    I've already decided my next mobile device, when and if I can ever afford one, will be a Nexus or GPE device. I've had it with bloatware.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:26am

    I bought a Nexus directly from Google because I loathe bloatware. I was furious that it came with HP printer software. To add insult to injury it updates very frequently.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:27am

    Replace Samsung with Everything Verizon Puts On Their Phones.
    When I got my Droid Razr Maxx HD I had to root it to delete over 50 different applications.

    The bloat on phones is getting out of control and it's to the point that people are just as pissed about bloat on their phones as they are about pre-installed bloatware on their new computers.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    Re:

    I should add that there's a pre-installed app that lets someone control your phone remotely.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:39am

    Re: I most vehemently concur.

    Too bad Nexus still gets bloatware. Supposedly it doesn't, but they still force the HP Print thing on you.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yep, and for every opinion, there's someone who has it.

     

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    broken, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:54am

    re: re: re

    all hardware manufacturers do the same. In expensive cars we call them features and come as add-on benefits that distinguish theirs from others and you cannot uninstall features like annoying voice command to put on seat belts or open the hatch by using your foot.

     

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  32.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:55am

    Lest we forget the carriers ...

    AT&T has jammed useless bloatware onto my last 5 smartphones, and before as well (Asphalt Racing? YP? AT&T FamilyMap? -- I know where my family is). I like my S4, but it greatly expanded on AT&T's bloatware "offerings." Take a gander at "running apps" and it's mostly stuff I don't even recognize. Urgh.

    Just last night I was "turning off" bloat apps under dire warnings of functionality problems, which did not come to fruition. But I should not have to muck with it at all.

     

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  33.  
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    The Other Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:58am

    Devil's Advocate

    You might want to take a look at this article: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-10/21/googles-iron-grip-on-android

    While I'm not arguing for the bloatware Samsung forces on you on their devices (I myself immediately flashed CyanogenMod the moment I got my S4), they do have a reason to do so - in case the relationship with Google sours.

    Google has been steadily improving their own branded closed-source propriety apps while leaving the open-source AOSP apps mostly alone, and encouraging developers to use their Play Services Ecosystem - which is also propriety.

    Those who actually fork AOSP are ones who rely on power users that are willing to root and flash the fork, or Amazon, who is big enough to support their own ecosystem. The rest of the smartphone manufacturers have to play by Google's rules (except for China).

    Still, CarrierIQ was an awful mess.

     

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  34.  
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    Ninja (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re:

    Yes, I meant eating resources by actually being active in the background (initializing along with the phone etc)

     

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    lemgandi (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Also it's a security risk

    That bloatware is also a fair-sized security hole. If an attacker can rely on an installed application to subvert your phone, she will.

    The best solution to this is a 3rd party build such as cyanogenmod. Installing it is the first thing I do to any purchased cellphone.

     

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    mcinsand, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:19am

    apologies

    Apparently I went too far in a comment, and I apologize. I sincerely apologize if my comments came across as me advocating violence. However, I do believe that the UI team at Gmail is to good design what Prenda is to good lawyering.

     

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  37.  
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    Arthur (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Not just Samsung, not just phones

    I'm not sure why you seem to think that only Samsung and only Samsung phones have bloatware. This has been going on since the earliest days of the PC. Bloatware appears on phones, PCs, tablets, you name it.

     

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  38.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    "As for being unable to uninstall, what difference does this make? These apps aren't invasive, nor do they interfere with anything else, and the file sizes aren't even an issue"

    I think it makes a huge difference. The apps are invasive (they often begin background processes running on bootup, taking up resources), and being unable to remove them means that you have to put up with permanent garbage in your apps drawer.

    Besides, and most important of all, their mere presence is irritating. Even if they had no effect at all, that would be enough to complain about them.

     

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  39.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:23am

    Re: Not just Samsung, not just phones

    You can delete the bloatware on your PC. You can't on your phone.

     

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  40.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re:

    I think it might be a Google account first, and then a Samsung account second. You have to have a Samsung account to start the phone.

    I own three Samsung devices. I do not, nor have I ever, had a Samsung account. This just isn't true. While two of the three Samsungs are rooted (can't root the third as I do not own it, and my employer might be a little miffed if I do,) at no point in the process did I ever have to log into or create a Samsung account.

    The only time I've ever saw a request to create an account it was when I actually started one of the Samsung bloatware apps, before the phone was rooted, and it allowed me to exit the app without creating an account.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:24am

    This issue is why I started rooting

    The bloatware issue was so annoying to me that I rooted my phone and switched to Cyanogenmod specifically to get rid of it all. It was a bonus that Cyanogenmod is far superior to the version of Android that comes on Samsung phones.

     

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  42.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re:

    Yes, but in the vernacular, the images you flash into the EPROM are called ROM images. This isn't incorrect, as an EPROM is a type of ROM.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:33am

    best alternatives

    I'm curious which alternatives to S Voice you refer to. I haven't got around to trying S Voice, so I'd be curious if I'd be better off looking at an alternative. (Feel free to give your S Memo/Health replacement recs too).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I actually did make use of the Samsung health tracking app. Just because it was a conveniently-already-there pedometer. That didn't even require a Samsung account until you tried to download an update.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:49am

    Bloatware Reason to Not Buy

    I had planned to purchase a Galaxy, but I bought a Nexus 5 instead last month, because of the bloatware issue. All those useless (to me) apps take up available gigabytes. Now as soon as a new Nexus 10 is released.....

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:58am

    Verizon actually puts TRIAL editions of apps on your phone that you can't uninstall. So annoying. It's the main reason to root for me.

     

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    michael, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 8:59am

    not analogous to PC bloatware

    This is nothing at all like PC bloatware. There are no toolbars (unless you install them) and no apps in your way (unless you launch them).

    I have a Galaxy S4. I installed Nova Launcher and never launched any of the default Samsung apps, and didn't even realize until yesterday when this ridiculous story became "news" that those were still on my phone (over a year later).

    It's like whining over Chrome including a PDF viewer when I already use Foxit to view PDFs.

    And while I rarely agree with users who say, "What is this doing on TechDirt?", I have to ask, "What is this doing on TechDirt?"

     

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  48.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 9:10am

    Re: not analogous to PC bloatware

    Perhaps it's on Techdirt because it's about an issue of interest to people that falls squarely in the "intersection of technology and society".

    You might not find bloatware to be an issue worth objecting to. That's fair. But it is an issue that many people find hugely annoying. That's just as valid.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You don't need to use the Google account either. Just install apks directly.

     

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    Dirk Belligerent (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re:

    What bloatware is on a Nexus 4? Or any Nexus for that matter?

     

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    Ninja (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 9:45am

    Re: best alternatives

    I used to use SMemo but Google Keep does a much better job in my opinion.

     

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    Dirk Belligerent (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 9:50am

    Re:

    I didn't even notice there's a printing thing in the settings because there isn't an actual app. You sound like someone who screams about spam being an corruption of his precious bodily fluids.

     

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  53.  
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    Rance Mohanitz, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re:

    From the CyanogenMod wiki:

    But wait-- is the right term "ROM" or "firmware" or what?
    The term "ROM" has multiple definitions. Technically, ROM stands for Read-Only Memory, which means you cannot write to it; it is read-only, like a DVD.
    Device manufacturers traditionally referred to a cell phone's included operating system as "ROMs" because they did not intend for you, the user, to replace it. And so, modders would use "ROM" as a shorthand for "ROM image" to describe what it was they were replacing. So today the files that you put in the system partition are also referred to as a ROM sometimes. You'll hear people say "flashing a ROM".
    Whether you call CyanogenMod a "ROM" or a "firmware" or an "operating system" or a "distribution", it all means in this case the same thing. The ambiguous terminology is just the result of a decade-long transition from simple, non-replaceable software on hand-held devices to full-fledged, updatable operating systems on a small, portable computers that fits in the palm of your hand.


    So you're right, but the term has changed over the years to include phone OSes.

     

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    Mike Dee, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 10:41am

    How is this different than what cell providers preinstall?

    Meh. I guess I've just given up on the fight. It doesn't really interfere with my use of the phone nor suck the battery too much. YMMV.

     

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  55.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re:

    Neither one is a keyboard, and that's why I don't get Samsung Galaxy phones. A keyboard is a keyboard. A bit of software that displays "keys" on your screen that obscure half of what you're trying to type and provide zero tactile feedback is not a keyboard.

    If they're going to adapt Apple's good ideas to make better phones, more power to them. But blindly copying Apple's mistakes along with them is just stupid. More phones with real keyboards, please!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:01am

    Re: How is this different than what cell providers preinstall?

    But does it spy on you?

     

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  57.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:08am

    Re: not analogous to PC bloatware

    Michael, every bloatware app on your phone:

    - uses up available memory space
    - is a potential vector for malicious attack
    - is registered as the default for a function, despite the fact that you may prefer the core Android option, or an aftermarket download
    - become part of your update queue, causing you to be prompted and spend time thinking "what is this", "do I want to update this", when really you just want it deleted
    - updates cause you data traffic

    and many bloatware apps also:

    - communicate, causing data traffic
    - uses processor time, slowing your usage
    - are hard coded to hardware buttons, or long-press of buttons, in a way that WON'T allow you to program the buttons to the functions YOU want.
    - ARE ONE OF THE REASONS OUR NON-NEXUS PHONES DON'T GET ANDROID UPDATES IMMEDIATELY, because Samsung (or other) need to re-build, re-test, re-integrate, and re-deploy their bloatware layer onto the udpated Android codebase.

    Tell me, Michael, does Novi launcher protect you from ANY of the above?

    Painting over a cancer does not cure the cancer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Bloatkiller, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:22am

    Re: not analogous to PC bloatware

    It's like whining over Chrome including a PDF viewer when I already use Foxit to view PDFs.


    I for one do hate that. I also dislike the inclusion of audio and video players into browsers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 12:28pm

    This is one reason I don't own a Samsung phone

    The bloatware and crappy cell radios are why I don't own a Samsung phone. I am saddened that Google sold off Motorola, I had hoped they would set the standard with pure Android phones. So now I don't know what my next phone will be. I am on Verizon so my choices are limited.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    "These apps aren't invasive,"

    I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. Not only have I had issues with the apps in terms of performance, but some of them carry...interesting...requirements.

    An app from one of the social sites, for example, came with a good set of rights requirements. But after I had the phone a while, they wanted to upgrade the app, and the new rights list would have boggled your mind. They would even be able to send emails and dial calls on "my behalf," for example; not to mention using my camera anytime they wanted.

    The only thing you can do with one of those problem children is to disable it, because of the no uninstalls rule.

    (Sony phone.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 12:37pm

    Re: This is one reason I don't own a Samsung phone

    Might I suggest the OnePlus One? http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/23/the-oneplus-one-offers-top-tier-specs-android-phone-specs-at-299/

    Th at's the direction I'm going, even if it does lack an microSD card slot (that's a major downside). Cyanogenmod preinstalled!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 12:41pm

    You can disable preinstalled apps

    You actually can disable built-in apps. In App Manager you Force Stop, then there will be a button for Turn Off or Disable or something like that. Then they won't be started, and will not be using any memory or CPU. In App Manager will appear a new tab "TURNED OFF" which is where most of these apps are on my phone, including the Lumen Toolbar and HP Print Plugin. (My phone is not rooted.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 2:17pm

    Re: You can disable preinstalled apps

    Hmmm, not on my Samsung stock ROM...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: You can disable preinstalled apps

    I believe this feature appeared in one of the later Androids. My S4 (stock, unrooted) is now on KitKat, but this feature was there before the KitKat upgrade. On Sprint, if it matters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Zonker, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 2:39pm

    Re:

    I thought that was funny too. As well as the absurd idea that anyone would actually want the Ask toolbar malware or Internet Explorer on their device.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, because cell phone manufacturers and service providers are able to take the basic Android ROM and make as many changes to it as they see fit. The OEM version of Windows that Dell gets from Microsoft is identical to the one that HP gets and the only thing they can change is adding the pre-installed software (the Windows OS comes pre-compiled, the Android ROM is source code). If the PC OEMs could lock you from uninstalling that crap they would.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I actually did make use of the Samsung health tracking app.

    I've used S-Voice on my Galaxy SIII, which doesn't require an account. It is a decent Siri clone. If there was a better one out there that I was aware of, I'd use it instead. Haven't tried the health app but CardioTrainer does everything I want it to do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The thing preventing the shovelware folks from making their software uninstallable isn't technical -- this would be as achievable for an OEM Windows install as for Android. It's contractual. Google can't really do the same thing for Android because it's OSS. Although Google absolutely could attach such a requirement in the license OEMs need to include gApps. And they should.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: You can disable preinstalled apps

    Stock KitKat does not include this functionality. It sounds like something Sprint added to their ROM. And kudos to them for that!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 3:09pm

    Just a clarification

    Everyone seems to be making this mistake (I did the same in my comments), but we should really be clear: it's not the hardware manufacturers that are responsible for shovelware. For example, Samsung did not put it on there. It's the carriers that do it. If you get a Samsung phone from Sprint, for example, it won't have the AT&T crap that the same phone you get from AT&T will have.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Just a clarification

    No. It's both.

    They work together to develop and test the final ROM that ships. Each installs their own bloat. There are some negotiations, some give and take, some strategic forces. Google is not usually consulted, but their Android terms do apply. You, the consumer, are never consulted.

    Because of this, it is very hard for updates to roll out to our phones, because it requires another round of these negotiations, and technical updates of all the customizations. So our phones get updates late, we miss some Android updates, and eventually get completely orphaned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: Just a clarification

    Yes, you're right.

    I really do wonder why everyone doesn't immediately replace the stock ROM with a nice, real Android one. It lets you bypass all of that badness -- no bloatware, no stupid carrier restriction (pay extra to tether? Ha!), and no delays getting OS updates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Just a clarification

    "wonder why everyone doesn't immediately replace the stock ROM"

    Cuz the OEMs lock the bootloader to prevent you, they void your warranty for doing it, you have no one to ask for support or complain to when it doesn't work, certain hardware functions and buttons may cease to work (ex: camera features), and certain ROM functions will not work on your hardware.

    And hacks to swap ROMs exist for only certain phones, and usually not until some time after the phone is launched.

    Aside from that, only that it takes hours for a competent geek to figure it all out and to ROM-swap. This is a first-time delay and learning curve, the second would be fast...but most of us only do the one.

    Other than that, it's pretty straightforward.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
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    TAKUMI (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 12:16am

    It IS possible to genuinely uninstall these things (or any app) if you get Titanium Backup, but of course, you need to root the device to do that, and it's sometimes hard to tell when just going through its raw list of programs what's bloat and what's part of the ROM or might otherwise cause problems if removed.

    I wish more computer/OS makers in general would design everything in a modular fashion where you can just remove everything you don't need. Part of the reason I stopped using GNOME and switched to KDE is that it wouldn't let me uninstall the few default apps without uninstalling GNOME too (I think I was trying to uninstall gedit, the Notepad-like program because I use jEdit, but no...); KDE unfortunately does that a little bit too by sometimes grouping big handfuls of coreish things together as in Kontact but at the very least I can uninstall the whole group if I don't need any of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 3:34am

    Re: This issue is why I started rooting

    In Australian, New Zealand, & Irish slang, root(ing) means a whole lot more than computers and whats on a plant ;)

    Just thought I'd put that out there if people wonder why I start laughing sometimes

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 3:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You can disable preinstalled apps

    yeah they did. Its basically allowing people to freeze apps but it still doesn't let them uninstall them which is weird when you think about it.

    Actually a lot of people still don't realise how much gAPPS now take up, especially G+ and maps. For older phones the new updates can go over their internal storage size. Which is why I try to get people to at minimum root the phone, downgrade (uninstall updates) of the gAPP they want and then MOVE it to SD card and update it again if they want to use the thing. Then uninstall all the useless stuff they would never use (Hangouts comes to mind) especially if they have an older phone.

    Personally I don't see the benefit in the S5 over the S4 (basically same phone) and lately if people ask I am advising them to either stay with what they have (kitkat isn't all that great unless you go to new quadcore phone) or purchase a HTC One over the S5. Better phone IMHO.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
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    Niall (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 4:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Until they want to 'phone home'. I was given a tablet that didn't have Google Play installed, and it's a royal pain because half my apks won't sideload since they can't check against the DRM^H^H^H Google Play account.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: This is one reason I don't own a Samsung phone

    The new HTC One (M8) does have a microUSB slot in the UK. Must be different models?

    One thing I haven't seen in this discussion is comments on HTC Sense. I'm not wild about bloatware either, but Sense really slimmed down in the v4 and v5 iterations, and v6 is supposed to be good too. I must confess, it's one of the reasons why I choose HTCs, and I don't mind a few 'bloatware' apps, especially as I often see suff on Play and go "but it's on my phone already... oh wait, it's Sense".

    Therev are some apps like All-In-One Toolbox that have had some functionality for removing 'built-in' apps - although I think that's been moved now to a root-only function - I'd need to check my apk backups.

    (As an aside, All-In-One Toolbox is really good for backing up even so-called 'protected' apks, as is Simple App Backup)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    icon
    Un (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 6:34am

    Buy phones with application control

    I'm as happy as the next guy that the S5 doesn't come with Faceboob preinstalled. And I'm pretty happy that the NFL paid to lower the cost of my phone because in a stock build I can turn it off. I have a preferred way to get that information.

    In the S5's application manager, there's a page for Turned Off apps. There's a button on every ROM-based app's detail screen labeled Turn Off, since it can't be uninstalled from ROM.

    None of the pre-installed apps were set to the default except the text messaging app, because there is a separate setting to choose which messaging app is default to prevent multiple apps from sounding and vibrating and blinking notifications. When I installed my preferred apps, I was offered the Always/Just Once choice to use my app or the previously existing app.

    When I look at App Manager's Running page, I can identify everything listed as apps I installed or apps and services that are necessary. The S5 (maybe KitKat) running page has an option to also show cached processes. On that screen, I see several larger apps I use that precache to reduce initial loading time.

    Combining apps I've started and precache, there is nothing on the list that I would want to kill. At the moment, cached processes represent 126mb of the 16gb storage, they're outside the 2gb RAM. With 3.5 gig of apps installed, I have 6 gig available.

    I've rooted every Android I've had except the last two, a Razr Maxx and an S5. I ran Nova Prime on the Razr. We're now at the point that we have control over what runs, and we don't need Task Killers.

    Granted, you shouldn't have to crawl into the innards of your phone settings as an average user to opt out of installed software that may or may not subsidize the cost of your phone. But if you're a user that would normally root, it's well within your realm to look at what kind of control you get from the OS and the stock ROM before dismissing a device you otherwise desire yet it has bloatware, a locked bootloader, and it disables NFC mobile payments if you root.

    The tools are in the box now to buy and manage a stock phone.

    People who want to root will always root, maybe even /facepalm at people who don't. I thought I always would, but I grew tired of the QA issues that come from five guys in a basement taking over every aspect of the device. I hated Sense and Motoblur, and Go and Nova surgically solved that without instability. Yes, I ran a few ROMs that were daily drivers, but still, oh lawd there goes my pants.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 6:49am

    The first app i had to think of was ChatOn which somehow forces itself onto the phone and tries to replace the stock texting app.

    It's slow to load, features several in-app shops and tries to be your on-stop-messenger-shop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: This issue is why I started rooting

    Are you laughing at my sexual attraction to my phone, or that I have a penis that can fit in the earphone jack?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re: This is one reason I don't own a Samsung phone

    No, this isn't the HTC One. It's a totally different phone, not made by HTC. The OnePlus One.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: This issue is why I started rooting

    No comment on the grounds that i'm laughing too much ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    icon
    Seān (profile), Apr 25th, 2014 @ 10:13am

    Bloatware

    All this reporting is great, but it would have been better if the authors posted a note/phone/email on where to complain. THAT GETS ATTENTION!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
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    Eldakka (profile), Apr 27th, 2014 @ 10:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one but they are best kept to oneself. (and yes this is an opinion that should be kept to myself ... start infinite recursion)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 6:50pm

    Re:

    !. I'm pretty sure that it's not Google who put the TouchWiz interface on my phone, and I know it sure as hell wasn't me. Yet according to you, there is no third possibility.
    ". Not everyone has the technical know-how to flash alternative OSes onto their device. That doesn't mean they haven't the right to expect that once they've paid over their money, the device is theirs and not the hardware manufacturer's, whether or not they root it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re:

    I think it might be a Google account first, and then a Samsung account second. You have to have a Samsung account to start the phone.
    Untrue, or do you have a specific example to back up your words?
    As for being unable to uninstall, what difference does this make? These apps aren't invasive, nor do they interfere with anything else, and the file sizes aren't even an issue.
    As above.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    identicon
    Reddo, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:08pm

    Re:

    The problem with samsung bloatware is that a large chunk of them not only are not desirable, but are constantly running. I had to actually Root my phone just to get them out, but now my battery is lasting almost three times as much as it used to.

    I pity those with higher end phones. My friend got a samsung with 16gb internal memory ... Of which 11gb is filled with unremovable bloatware.

    Now, I felt OK with both installing a custom rom and rooting, and I imagine both void my warranty, but my friend will not risk it. So he has an extremely expensive piece of hardware that is outperformed by inferior hardware from other brands, all because the inferior hardware is not carrying the tons of extra processes samsung likes to install in everything. Heck, just uninstalling them nearly gave me a repetitive strain injury, poor CPU!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    identicon
    Brian Fowler, Oct 3rd, 2014 @ 8:36pm

    Seriously

    The Lumen Toolbar has become the bane of my existence. It updates nearly every single day. I disable it on every browser. It still updates nearly every single day. I click unistall, it won't, but it says it will disable updating. It updates the next day anyway. It just will not fucking go the fuck away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
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    Samwwjd (profile), Oct 8th, 2014 @ 5:30am

    Re: lol

    I'm so down to stay a Kickstarter for that haha

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2014 @ 9:59am

    how can u install them back if u have the backup. because it keep telling me not install. pls help me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2014 @ 10:42am

    HTC has got to be one of those worst for putting not only useless apps on your phone but making them un-installable.
    I have over 50 fucking apps that are complete garbage !!!!
    It's actually annoying how stupid people are.
    I in fact despise HTC and everything they do now and hope whomever made these stupid fucking apps and programs chokes to death , ps you are the worst programmers ever you should quit before you rune anything else with your stupid ideas.
    Fuck you !!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    identicon
    Andy B, Jan 28th, 2015 @ 8:30am

    Re:

    Actually it does the manufacturer more harm than good. HP Bloatware is enough for me to never consider buying one of their products.

    If you piss people off to the point where they won't buy your brand, it doesn't matter how much revenue they make from preloaded bloat. Everyone should just boycott the perpetrators.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    identicon
    Andy B, Jan 28th, 2015 @ 8:30am

    Re:

    Actually it does the manufacturer more harm than good. HP Bloatware is enough for me to never consider buying one of their products.

    If you piss people off to the point where they won't buy your brand, it doesn't matter how much revenue they make from preloaded bloat. Everyone should just boycott the perpetrators.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    Marydenisewebster@hotmail.com, Feb 4th, 2015 @ 10:51am

    And leave my photos alone

    I bought this phone to use as a phone not a computer. Google wants to be another Facebook. They know everything I do when I google. My computers my phone it is all linked together.Privacy there is none. So all this bloat ware I am stuck with it????

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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