Call it like it is. It’s crapware

Apparently Samsung recently boasted that a feature of its latest phone (this was some minutes ago so there'll have been another latest phone since) was that it came with only 40 pre-installed apps instead of 50 or so. I don't know the details because I haven't the patience for Android – every time I see an Android phone that looks great, I use it for a mo and it feels like it'll be brilliant when it's finished – so I also didn't know how bad this crapware problem is.

Kinder people, or ones with stronger filters on their website than I have, tend to call it bloatware. It's the apps that come on your phone from the manufacturer and you can't get rid of them. I'm an iPhone user and I find it irritating that Apple won't let you delete any of the many apps it provides. Just taking a quick look now, I can see my iPhone 5 has about 22 and I'm using 12. The rest are tucked away in a folder but I can't delete them.

That's actually much more than I expected to find. I am including the Settings app plus the Phone one, the one that you use to make, like, actual phone calls. So there are ones without which it isn't a phone, I don't mind those. And I use the Camera, Photos, Mail, all sorts. But there are about 10 I simply never open. Stocks. Weather. All that.

Still, even if we said I never used any of them, that's 22 Apple pre-installed apps versus a whoo-hoo newsworthy 'only 40' Android ones. You would be hard-pressed to come up with another 20 or 30 apps that you could think a manufacturer would include but that's because you're smart and sensible. You wouldn't put, say, three text message apps on, would you?

You're not Samsung, plainly. Buy a new Samsung phone and you get Samsung's text message app. Fine. But you may also get one made by your mobile phone carrier and you definitely get Google Hangouts, which also does text messaging.

It's the same with many others and the argument in favour of it all is that you get choice. Bollocks. The apps are there because of deals and contracts that benefit the makers and not the customers. I've nothing against the makers getting benefits: if they don't, they cease to be companies. But at least let me swear at you once on the day I buy your phone and spend an hour deleting all the crapware.

Time magazine says:

Users aren’t completely powerless to fight back, at least. If you’re bothered by bloatware, you can go to Settings > Applications (or Apps on some phones), then swipe over to the “All” section. Tap on any app you don’t want, and press “Disable.” Ignore the message that says it may misbehave if it’s a built-in app. As long as it’s an actual app, represented by an icon in your app tray or on your home screen, you shouldn’t have any problems. But even this isn’t a perfect solution, because these apps are still hogging space on your device, and removing them is still a chore.

Friday Rant: The Ever-Sorrier State of Android Bloatware – Time magazine (9 May 2014)

Reportedly there is likely to be a special version of Android that is sold without bloatware. You'll have to pay extra, naturally. Wasn't there a version of Windows that came without the crap too? It is a funny world where the absence of something is a unique selling point and you get charged extra for it.

At least Android phones don't come with all those stickers on the front.

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