To me it seems kinda like DRM: I'm sure some executives get woodies at the thought of having power over users. But I really doubt that it's an economically rational activity.
I'm thinking of: dialer app, SMS app, contacts app, settings app.
The problem seems to be that OEMs mark apps as non-removable when they don't fit that category. And even google does this. [eg. Looking on my phone I was not able to remove Google News, only "disable" it.]
And also on Android, you can install multiple dialers, multiple SMS apps, etc., so maybe you should be able to get rid of the stock one if you have a replacement.
And everything I've read says that disabling an app and removing updates removes it from everywhere _except_ read-only memory.
I don't think there's any other way to do this at all, unless you want to give up on having a factory reset feature entirely. I think the only problem is that Android doesn't just call it "uninstall" and hide it better.
One could imagine a setup where the system is rebooted into some kind of safe mode where only manufacturer-signed packages are executed, all other packages are deleted, and then any uninstalled original packages are re-downloaded from a manufacturer designated server, or even peer-to-peer to save internet bandwidth.
Considering the rare use of the factory reset process, and the large cost associated with exabytes of flash memory across all devices worldwide, this seems a worthy tradeoff.
Even with a microSD card, not all apps support being "moved" to SD.
I apologize for being blunt, but yours seems like a very lame technical excuse to justify existing behavior, at cost to customer experience. They could just as well put it somewhere where it's (1) still signed and (2) doesn't affect the signature of the base OS.
I don't want a subsidized phone not does the average person. The frustrations I have to help people with when they go into that shitty version is always met with "why do they do they, why do I have two contact apps?"
Don't the One Plus and Android One phones come pretty clean with only a few Google apps on them?
Google added a disable feature. Funny thing is you can disable the disable feature for certain apps.
Second, the manufacturer is still allowed to put some apps, especially background system apps. I'm not sure what the standard is but it seems to be about user experience rather than security/privacy/user freedom/space.
Third, I suspect a lot of the above fit a common description of spyware. They collect my data without my consent or at best with some fine print.
Android One is to Google what TouchWiz (or whatever it's called) is to Samsung.
OnePlus came with malware not too long ago, so I'm going to answer that with an emphatic no. They are better than some HTC phones I've seen, but that's not a high bar to meet.
The Xiaomi Android One line does manage to price in the $150 range without bloatware, and I'm not sure how.
I have an A1 and have logged it's network requests all day for fun. There's absolutely nothing remotely resembling "spyware". Compared to prolific unremovable bloat than many premium phones have it's an excellent phone. Ended up buying another for safekeeping if something ever goes wrong with it.
Android One, monthly security updates, official bootlock unloader, some of the best LineageOS support around. Compared to nearly everything else on the market (besides Pixels or Nokias) it's an absolute joy to actually have control over my phone.
It also has com.wapi.wapicertmanage, WAPI as in World Association of Professional Investigators! No idea what it does but from the name, it sounds it's security related.
Do these belong on an Android One phone? Do these fit with the impression that most people seem to have about Android One?
You know how sometimes, cell ISPs ban certain baseband firmwares from connecting to their network, such that you have to upgrade your phone's firmware before it can connect? Now what happens if you live in some college dorm that has only WAPI-configured wi-fi APs? Guess your phone's a brick until you can find wi-fi somewhere else!
In other words, this is kind of a crucial package for a phone you're going to be using in China.
(But also, it's government-mandated that phones released in China have WAPI support.)
It wouldn't surprise me if there were some profit sharing or kickbacks going on as a result of the surveillance. LinkedIn has an ad network with a Mobile focus. They better they can track you, the more valuable you are to them.
They could of course fix this limitation, but I guess the incentive isn't there for them to do so.
I buy phones as a platform for software, so it makes sense to pay attention to more than the hardware.
Google Chrome( I use firefox)
Google Drive (Fastmail)
Google App (I can use Firefox as a search provider on
Google Play Movies and TV
Google Play Music
Google Play Services for AR
Google VR Services
Youtube (Frankly, with the amount of advertisements on Youtube these days, Firefox on android with ublock origin installed is a few better user experience then the actual YouTube app for android)
These are just the apps that I personally have disabled, I am a fastmail user, so Gmail is getting disabled soon as well as Google Calendar.
Even Google's "stock" Android on the Pixel phones has plently of blaotware. LineageOS has much less bloatware.
To take Chrome for example, for Google to ship an Android phone without what they consider the best browser for the platform would be borderline insane.
There may be an argument to make about allowing the user to pick their browser during onboarding, but calling the browser "bloatware" is completely ridiculous. You may not want Chrome, but 99% of people buying a Pixel are perfectly happy with having it bundled, so by definition, it's not bloatware. You can't just redefine "bloatware" to be apps you don't like.
What makes the bloatware annoying is that they cannot be fully uninstalled, only disabled. I'm one of the users who disabled these google apps and it annoys me that I cannot remove them.
Yes, it's (marginally) annoying that you can't uninstall them, but the majority of users won't care.
> I'm one of the users who disabled these google apps and it annoys me that I cannot remove them.
Unless you are running low on space on your phone and really could use those extra megabytes, your annoyance is illogical. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it unsurprising that this issue hasn't been addressed.
otherwise why allocate disk space to be read only and have apps on it people might not want? (as far as user experience is concerned)
i meant they can maintain an app store experience without the bottlneck of downloading expected apps on day 1. instead of downloading and using data an wasting time, it would enable the app. so its the same "opt-in" experience as downloading but with benefits
Not usable space.
> they often are re-enabled automatically whenever the device gets updated
This has never happened for me.
Yes, vote with your wallet, but also vote with your actual votes. I'd very much like to see a decision from the EU or FCC to finally stop this practice of making it impossible for people to remove the software from the phones they own.
Consumer rights when it comes to mobile devices which are arguably already the primary platform for end users need to be extended. The extent to which businesses are able to lock down devices is just a disaster.
Also stuff like Play services or the Google Store are somewhat replaceable. How could these be categorized?
Remember that HN is a bubble. We might care about bloatware, but maybe millions of regular users don’t (or even find some of the bloat useful).
Users don't care about technical details as "bloatware" one bit. That's true.
They do care about their phones running slower and having a much worse battery life though (compared to iPhones with background app refresh turned off).
And I don't think this is a bubble issue either. People being frustrated with having applications fill up their menus or screens and memory is an everyday issue that everyone complains about.
Edit: some others I can't uninstall from my international, unlocked Moto G6: Google Drive, Duo, Chrome, YouTube,
Sorry, but WTF kind of world are we living in where a terrible professional network app being permanently stuck to your phone is regarded as almost no bloatware? I'm not disagreeing with your statement that Moto phones are low in bloatware; just that if it's this bad for Moto phones I can't even begin to imagine how bad it is for Samsung. I wonder how much LinkedIn is paying for that deal.
I guess I'm glad I run either Google phones or Android One; highly recommended for your next phone. Vote with your wallets. The Android Ones are more affordable than the eye-watering prices Google charges for Pixels these days.
And to be honest, I kind of like it. I'm hoping to wean off a phone entirely and be able to shut it off and leave it on my desk when I'm at home.
Edit: I don't see Google apps as an (additional) problem. Google already controls the phone and its apps don't waste CPU time or memory while not active.
So yes, as a firefoxee, I never want to see the Chrome icon. However, purging Chrome is a security risk.
Sounds like a serious case of Stockholm syndrome.
Chinese spyware is not bloatware?
It was still slow and updates took longer than I wanted to arrive.
I bought the cheapest new iPhone I could get last black Friday (around $600) and for the first time since my Galaxy SII in 2011 I got a phone that I have actually enjoyed.
FTR, phones I have not enjoyed:
- Samsung SIII (two, one was terrible, probably a defect part, luckily it bricked itself so I got a replacement, the second wasn't terriblę just disappointing),
- Note (at least one, can't say for sure which),
- Sony Z3 (screen detached from body - this might be my fault for disconnecting the charger half asleep many times, but more importantly installed Amazon adware during Android upgrade),
- Samsungs S7 Edge (slow, microlag, generally disappointing)
- and finally Nokia 6.1 Android One (slow, updates took long time to arrive even if in was Android One certified, spyware concerns - I'm not sure if mine was affected.)
I've never wanted all those apps, I don't even have a Google account...
How would you even get anything on your phone the first time without the Play store or Chrome being installed?
The Play Store is not bloatware. The Play _stores_ are bloatware (books, games, movies, etc.)
(for the record I've disabled a lot of stuff on my Galaxy)
My main demands were a browser that had a reliable "reader mode", a black background "night mode", allowed reasonable ad blocking, and had a full screen mode with minimal clutter. The Samsung browser isn't perfect, still occasionally makes me mad, but definitely is worth trying if aren't fully satisfied with what you are using.
I used that ten years ago back when the play store was called Android Market because it had addons and I thought it was the bee's knees. I still rotate through chrome, chrome canary, Firefox, Firefox focus, opera, and sometimes nightly builds of Firefox just to see what's getting tinkered with lately. Firefox still my daily driver though.
Microsoft was sued for antitrust violations for much the same thing:
Except Google spends billions in both engineering and infrastructure to develop, test and maintain it. Including those apps is part of how they fund said development.
But these days, people expect everything to be completely free and tech companies to do things out of the goodness of their heart for no financial benefit.
It is when you only use Firefox..
(Only ... slighly ... joking.)
I personally use Aurora Store, a FOSS reimplementation of Google Play Store, to install new apps without a Google account
A few brands (mostly, it seems to me, ones with explicitly Chinese names like Xiaomi) are trying out a "cheap price no bloatware" strategy, especially now that carriers like Google Fi are attracting people from the carrier-branded stuff. But don't be surprised if a lot of the cheapest phones continue to make the bloat unremovable -- it's a low-margin, high volume proposition that works.
But if you buy an android phone you might get a copy of Google Chrome. And some sort of rebadged Samsung browser. And maybe a Sprint browser because you bought a Sprint phone.
Now repeat that for email. And text messaging. And a couple other things.
It’s crazy. I’m amazed new users can figure out which one to use sometimes.
All because every layer of the supply chain has to add their “customization“. To add “value“.
No bloatware, updates available.
That said, what do you prefer: The ability to install a ROM of your choice, or a guarantee that what you boot is what you bought?
This isn't a hard problem. We solved it decades ago. There should be an "Smartphone Kernel" that gets updated like the Linux kernel with drivers for all variety of hardware that you can install on most every phone as is. Vendors could cut out drivers for hardware they aren't using, but a random person should be able to install a generic kernel and boot the phone. Android would be the userland installed on top of that kernel. But it seems like vendors are more interested in maintaining lock-in instead of simplifying their maintenance and update tasks.
Right now Samsung seems to be number one in android phones. what benefit would they get from doing this? Making it easier to update their old products? They don’t care. All that does is make people buy fewer new phones.
Across all the vendors they could save time… but I kind of doubt they’ll ever do it. I don’t think that motivation is strong enough for them to change the way they do things.
I'd like that as well of course but vendors don't seem very interested in cooperating with each other right now.
Having a locked bootloader means I an unable to truly install what I want.
I don't know about your definition of bloatware but that stuff is definitely included in mine.
Yet that isn't commonly called "bloatware"... because, of course, it isn't.
Bloatware is commonly understood to be third-party software, often of questionable utility and quality. Not first-party.
(*The suite is only preinstalled on 32GB+ devices.)
It's basically an example of how Apples strategy with tight grip on their platform makes so much sense. iPhone owners don't have to worry about any of that. Generally phones are supported way longer and updates available even for older phones.
Really? I have a folder on my iPhone three pages deep called “apple junk” which is nothing but all the apple pre installed bloat apps that I never use.
Do some people find a use case for them? Sure. But there they are on my phone. Pre installed and just taking up space..
I'd probably buy an iPhone if it cost like $300 and didn't have all the bells and whistles. Not because I can't afford one. I just can't see myself spending $1000 on a device where the main use case is communication via WhatsApp.
The iPhone SE came out at $400, and dropped to less than $200 (locked) a couple of years ago.
Currently the cheapest iPhone here is the iPhone 8 4.7'' and it costs about $550 USD.
Not sure about yours but mine spams me to sign up for Apple Music every month, came bundled with GarageBand etc and bugs me about creating a Memoji, spams up my messaging app/emoji tray with animojis etc.
The days of iOS being the restrained stoic only what you need OS are over because marketing needs to push features to sell handsets and services.
If people don't like junk pre-installed on their Samsung phones or by Verizon, they should probably complain to them, or stop buying those phones. There are plenty of brands with stock Android that don't come with pre-installed junk.
On Samsung devices, we have to use hacks like using Package Disabler Pro to disable stuff:
My phone is considerably faster and and battery life is much better after using this. No to mention this probably also closes some provacy holes.
Motorola, on the other hand, does a great job by using mostly vanilla Android with just a few really useful modifications.
The only way to prevent OEMs from doing that is to tie it to the Google Play Services agreement which will, again, open Google up to yet another antitrust suit.
In order to have that control, Google would have to supply a completely locked down pre-built image to all the third party vendors that they are no able to customize.
And, so then, how would the end users have any modicum of freedom.
No, this has to go from the bottom up: users have to be able to get a blank device from a vendor with nothing, and then install a clean OS of our choosing (whether that be Google or whoever else).
The idea that Google can somehow, or should force vendors to give users a clean(-er,-ish) image is downright wrongheaded. The image cannot pass through third party hands such that they have no control over it, yet the end user somehow does.
Or is it only thru ADB that you can remove (unless rooted)?
Google Assistant and the Samsung program that does the same thing (namaly pissing my off and refusing to be deactivated). Its the worst experiance.
…and somehow we still have Candy Crush bundled with "stock" Windows :/
The problem isn't really a third party game. It's that it's bulky and that it keeps coming back.
Microsoft has gone through phases where vendors like Dell and HP crammed computers with "crapplets". Microsoft has leaned hard over a long period of time to improve the situation.
Not sure why the organisations didn't think of that.
Not that I have a horse in this race I buy iOS devices.
Google should start with ... Google. Lot of bloatware comes from them too.
Unfortunately OEMs still love to abuse the "Don't allow installation" flag on APKs to prevent you from uninstalling Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. (I'm looking at you Samsung).
Play Services are considered a core component and I think even app developers would be pissed if that could be removed.