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Why on earth do we put up with so much bloatware?

Why on earth do we put up with so much bloatware?

Call me a cynic, but when I fork out more money on a smartphone than I did for my first car, I don't really feel like I should be stuck with twenty or more bloatware apps pre-loaded onto my phone that I cant get rid of. Considering the ridiculous amount of space and system resources these apps take up, I think I deserve the ability to delete them. Trust me, if I actually wanted them I'd download them from the Play Store. That's what it's for, after all: a place to get the apps you actually want.

I'll be the judge of the apps that I want, thank you very much. / © AndroidPIT

I'd like to know exactly how much money is made by the manufacturers and carriers by bloatware, because it had better be loads and loads and loads. Otherwise I say we take a flamethrower to our app drawers and send strongly worded complaint emails every day until every Customer Feedback Officer has quit their jobs in frustration and the OEMs are forced to reconsider their position. I mean, seriously, would you buy a BluRay with commercials in it? An album full of ads? I can live with ads in free services like Spotify or free-to-air TV, but in a device I've forked over an arm and a leg for? Nuh uh.

So why do we put up with this situation? Many of us choose Nexus devices simply because we are free from all but the most essential apps (that are still forced down our throats by Google). Of course, we can root our phones and remove bloatware to cut back on the background processes but we still can't free up that partitioned space they just vacated. And why should we be forced to void our warranty to get rids of apps we don't want, don't use and don't need?

Google Play
How about an anti-Play Store, where bloatware apps go to die? / © Under Linux

What we need is an anti-Play Store, like a dark matter version of Google Play that we can stick all of our most hated apps in to see them crushed like so much matter in a black hole. If only we could name and shame carriers and manufacturers into treating us better, but the problem is they're all just as guilty as one another. I love that LG allow us the possibility of removing some pre-loaded apps on the LG G3 and that some other manufacturers are at least dropping the amount of bloatware a bit, but it's still not enough. Why should we have any apps we don't want on a device we paid good money for?

If bloatware is an absolute necessity - because, let's face it, it's unlikely to go anywhere soon - why not have an app suggestion manager in the initial setup procedure for each smartphone? Perhaps an awards system for those that choose to install that junk? Anyone in their right mind can opt out and only install the apps they actually want but others with a more obedient spirit could at least get something for taking one for the team. What should those rewards be? Discounts on services? Free accessories? Shorter upgrade timelines? Surely we deserve something.

g3 kris
It's great that at least LG allow us to uninstall bloatware. / © AndroidPIT

If we absolutely must be stuck with bloatware, how about giving us some choices? Like letting users choose from three different bloatware packs on setup? Perhaps an ''office pack,'' ''gamers pack'' or ''entertainment pack'' so we can at least get a slight chance of getting apps we might care to open at least once? I realize that, like app developers putting ads in their free apps, there's probably decent enough reasons for the inclusion of at least some bloat. But when it's taking up that much space and system resources it gets beyond a joke. And yet we continue to take it.

I'm always amazed at how forgiving smartphone consumers are: from crappy official updates that brick your phone to poor service, failure to admit responsibility when things go wrong, excessive bloatware, system hungry skins and the forcing of awful services on you that you don't want or need. And yet the same customers that love to fire up in internet forums instantly get wooed the next time the marketing cult professes the next greatest thing. I'm as guilty as anyone for falling for the latest gadgets but I at least know that I shouldn't and try to make wise (ahem, Nexus!) choices.

wear teaser
At least Android Wear isn't open to bloatware, even if it is totally controlled by Google. / © AndroidPIT

In one way I respect Google's approach to Android Wear and Android One as it pertains to manufacturers: our way or the highway. At least I like and use the apps Google gives me: YouTube, Maps, Gmail and so on. But at the same time I don't like having everything laid out for me either. I love Android because it lets me customize things exactly how I like them; the more things are predetermined for me the more claustrophobic I become. We just need to remind ourselves that they need us more than we need them: look at how many three year old phones are still chugging along fine! Heck, I still have an old Nokia I could revive. Did anyone ever want to remove Snake? So grab your poison pen and let your manufacturer know what you want and what you won't put up with anymore! It's time we set the record straight.

What's your biggest pet peeve on smartphones? What responsibility do you think OEMs should have to customers?

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  • I think all cell phones should be sold unlocked. You're locked in with a 2 year contract either way. I'm paying for it monthly, kinda like buying a car and saying that you can't change out the radio because you still owe money on it. Or you can't do any improvements on your house because it's not paid for yet.

  • Although I actually want a bloatware:An Anti-theft just like that of Avast! preinstalled will be a pretty good thing considering I rooted my phone for this very reason!I don't want to root my phone within a year of buying it,thanks.

  • My1 Jul 15, 2014 Link to comment

    Truly, if I would be in the Samsung software put-together department I would recreate the partitions flatten the system by extreme measures and every extra (whether gestures or alike, enhancement apps like s-note or bloatware) functionality will be stored in the data partition, in other words, make 'em removable with merit. If course some things like plax store wont be removable that easy (developer mode, uninstall Captcha or alike) but it would be removable...

    • Maybe bloatware removability will become the next big thing like SD cards are now with LG, HTC, Moto, Samsung, Oppo, Sony and more using them even in the face of Google not really liking them. The more noise we make the more likely we are to eventually get what we want.

  • Even if you have rooted your device, how can you be sure you are not removing an app used by another. I've only flushed a few obvious Chat On, yahoo stock and weather and Group Play.

    • I'd say play it safe (as you would on your PC): if you don't know what an app/program/file/setting does then you're probably better off leaving it alone. The more you read and absorb, the more you learn and the easier it is to know what can go. Or you can take the head first approach and delete away. At least you'll learn a lot about fixing problems!

  • Ah!First SD cards,and now bloatwares.I think I'm getting addicted to your articles,Kris.

  • rooting is a solution to delete unwanted system apps.
    i have removed about 340 mb of system apps ..

    • But you can't reclaim that additional space without a lot of effort, no? If only you could root, delete bloatware and resize the partition it wouldn't be so bad.

  • for me chrome still useful,and i use chrome for browsing.the best so far.i just hate the hangout.unusefull app.

  • why is it that no one complains when Google adds it's own bloatware like Google hangouts and chrome browser. those files are huge and arguably useless.

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