Does Android Bloatware Weigh You Down?

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-07-23 Print this article Print

Android smartphones are mimicking the PC ecosystem by incorporating mucho preloaded applications from carriers and other partners that consumers don't want, according to this nice piece from Ars Technica.

If any of you bought or played with the HTC Evo 4G from Sprint you know what I mean. There are the Sprint TV and Sprint NASCAR apps.

Ars says the Motorola Droid line doesn't have this, but I respectfully disagree: The Droid X offers Blockbuster on Demand and V-Cast, among other apps. Who asked for it? Not the consumers. Motorola and Verizon decided to build a multimedia phone and put what they want on it.

It's bloatware, or as Ars Technica defines it so well: "The term is shorthand for nonessential software or media files bundled with a device in a bid to boost revenue and ostensibly give consumers a chance to try new services."

Ars even got HTC to confirm this practice, a coup in a telecommunications market known for throwing lighting bolts of policy at naive consumers from an impregnable mountaintop.

Of course, Apple's iPhone, whose master Steve Jobs successfully shuts out porn and other spammy apps from his precious device, does not suffer from the bloatware bedlam.

It's the ugly side of being free and open. Sure, Apple is closed, restrictive and imposing, and many people hate that. Just ask Louis Gray.

Yet there is something to be said for getting a leaner phone without the junky apps. There is beauty in the purity; it's just too bad that to get that you have to buy into the Apple silo and become assimilated.

When Android cleans up its act -- and I also mean all the Android-oriented spam -- it will provide a more mature alternative to the iPhone.

Of course, there may be no end in sight. By dint of being open source, Google can't control what carriers and manufacturers choose to put on mobile phones running the OS.

There are many who view Android as the new Microsoft Windows, only open. Well, Windows ushered in the bloatware like nobody's business. Is it so hard to believe that Android won't follow in Windows' footsteps? |

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