Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bloatware on smartphones

I came across a nice post on Gizmodo about bloatware creeping into Android phones. It's true. Some of the latest Android phones come with pre-installed apps that can't be removed. And when some of these pre-installed apps turn out to be trial software that you are not interested in, you are forced to live with them for the life of your phone as there is no way to remove them. But not all pre-installed apps are bloatware. Some of the Android phones are coming pre-installed with Swype, an app that makes typing easy on these phones when there is no physical keyboard. It is actually a pretty useful app that comes free with the phone which otherwise costs few bucks if you want to purchase it yourself.

When you compare, smartphone bloatware is worse than PC bloatware when you consider the point that you can at least remove the bloatware that comes with a new PC. But, you can always move the useless apps to a place where they are out of your sight and forget about them. In that case, bloatware on smartphones is more about taking up storage space while bloatware on PCs even consumed system resources to the point of slowing down the PC. So, the real problem with the bloatware on smartphones is the inability to delete them.

When you think of it, even iPhone comes with a few pre-installed apps that you can't delete. I know that these apps do not exactly fall into the bloatware category as they do not come with a trial period, it's not good to lock them down. Why can't I delete the Stocks app on my iPhone when I'm sure that I will not need it ? Why can't it be like the iBooks app that you can download from AppStore and delete it at your will ? So, the ultimate point here is that it is never a good idea to take the choice away from the users. How much useful an app may be, not everyone likes it. Each person has a different taste and it's always a good idea to leave the choice with the user.