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Cellphones Software

Smartphones: the New Home of Crapware 308

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-flush-your-system dept.
Barence writes "Smartphones are replacing PCs as the new breeding ground for pre-installed crapware, argues Mike Jennings. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro, for example, comes pre-loaded with McAfee security software and other associated apps, four different app stores, and a selection of games and other media management tools. 'And it's not like you can just get rid of this software, either — most of it's there to stay, with hard-coded blocks in place to ensure you don't uninstall any of the tat you don't want,' he adds."
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Smartphones: the New Home of Crapware

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  • Not news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by petteyg359 (1847514) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @11:05PM (#37186984)

    Even my regular old clamshell has pre-installed non-removable games and applications.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      Even my regular old clamshell has pre-installed non-removable games and applications.

      +1 And all the carrier branding stuff that's in there, nothing new.

    • by MacTO (1161105)

      Same here, but I've noticed that the non-removable applications and games on my old phone were buried under menus that I rarely used. On the new phone, well, they're right in my face and a fair number of them are little more than links to websites. Which is much more obnoxious.

      Thankfully I can choose to bury that stuff in folders on my current phone, but how long will it be until they remove that capability? (After all, they do it to make money. You can't make money on what users don't see.)

      Thankfully t

      • The phone manufacturers are starting to make noises about making all the carrier imposed crapware uninstallable. HTC for one has publicly come out in favor of this. the carriers get paid to put the csapware on the phones. The more heavily subsidized the phone the more shovelware on it.
    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      There is a huge leap from good old snake to modern crapware.

    • Re:Not news (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @12:06AM (#37187354)
      Sure, but how much of it was slowing down your phone? How much of it was running in the background?

      With an old clamshell, chances are those applications really aren't doing much to slow down your phone. With smartphones though, they are because they all run in the background even if you don't use them.
      • by delinear (991444)
        Chances are they're all hooked into your various online accounts too. I'm pretty good at verifying anything I'm going to install on my phone, but sooner or later users will get caught out by a security flaw in a badly coded piece of shoverware that they never even realised was installed. Less of an issue when phones basically made calls and sent text messages, much more of an issue when they're hooked up to online retailers/banking sites.
    • Re:Not news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bonch (38532) * on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @03:01AM (#37188348)

      It is news. The news is that this only affects Android. Android has become the new Windows, home of viruses, malware, and pre-installed junk you can't remove. It's even worse than PCs due to fragmentation--the article mentions that the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro (what a name) has four different app stores. When Linux fans cheer about some perceived victory through Android, they're really cheering the fact that carriers throw Android onto their cheap, flimsy phones and load it with a bunch of branded crap. That's not the victory we wanted.

      • by oakgrove (845019)
        So you hate Android. Who cares? You shove it in everybody's face everytime you get a good excuse. If we all sign a petition agreeing that you hate Android, will you please just go away?
    • by asdf7890 (1518587)

      Even my regular old clamshell has pre-installed non-removable games and applications.

      And worse. I've not bought a phone via a mobile network provider since getting one that Orange had deliberately broken the mp3 playback functions on. Without a hack (someone found the keys for the DRM so people could sign their own content with certain tools) you couldn't play anything as either a track or a tone without it having a digital signature - presumably they wanted me to rebuy all my stuff from their online store. What incensed me was that the advertising for that phone by that network played up t

  • 2 Words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clarkn0va (807617) <apt.get @ g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @11:07PM (#37186998) Homepage
    Cyanogenmod.
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      If you root your phone at all, you can remove the crap without needing to switch to Cyanogen mod.

      • Not if it's an HTC Desire. You can root it, but it's got some hardware thingie too - if you attempt to write to the area of flash that has the OS, then the hardware lock will not just refuse the write but immediatly reboot the phone. There are ways to overcome it, but it's a bit more difficult than your standard rooting.
        • Maybe so, but as root you can disable any or all the crap/bloat/malware you want with no penalty (I've often done so on my Desire). Just use Titanium or a similar app, or you can even do it from the commandline by calling 'pm disable ...'

          It's essentially the same thing as deleting the package, but it's a lot safer!

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      If the devs cannot put out installation instructions that are not deliberately obtuse and which prevent even an experienced user from bricking the phone cyanogen mod is not much different.

      I've tried to find a coherent set of instructions all on one page that does not brick the phone requiring a heimdall reinstall of the OS or actually sending it to someone who wants money to fix it.

      It's good that's Android is so open as Bionix works at least until you try the pre-installed 'one click lag fix" then it'll ran

    • Does not work on all phones.

      For some phones there far less ... buggy ways to remove crapware.

    • by asvravi (1236558)
      Still waiting for the second word...
  • Solution: go Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy (13680) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @11:10PM (#37187020) Journal

    Whether computer, tablet, or phone, Apple don't do this. It's *one* of the reasons I like them.

    Simon.

    (haters in 3,... 2,... 1,...)

    • Not only that, they COULD do it, and people would still buy their stuff/defend them. But they choose not to - I love that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Animats (122034)

      ITunes? AppStore? Apple has preloaded marketing-oriented apps; they're just all Apple's.

      • That's like complaining your OS comes with a browser and a package manager. It makes no sense, those apps are part of the core use cases for the device.

        • That's like complaining your OS comes with a browser and a package manager. It makes no sense, those apps are part of the core use cases for the device.

          No problem with them coming with the device, but why not let users replace them with something better or remove them entirely if that doesn't match *their* use case?

        • by MrHanky (141717)

          Yes, it's a funny thing. Marketing is the core function of iOS.

    • by Trufagus (1803250)

      Solution: go Nexus

      Get the best of both worlds: no crapware, no jail.

      (But I must add, I haven't encountered any crapware on non-Nexus Android's here in Canada. The problem seems to vary by carrier and country.)

    • Try and remove a lot of the default icons like the stock app. You can't unless you jailbreak it.

      • And you can't do a lot of non-standard things with an Android phone unless you root it. Your point?
        • by exomondo (1725132)

          And you can't do a lot of non-standard things with an Android phone unless you root it.

          Right. Your point?

          If you're looking for his point then read his post in the context of what he is replying to, it should make sense, but just in case it was that both iOS and Android prevent you from removing those default applications.

  • Free and open (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm happy with my N900, it runs true Linux, i.e. it allows me to install/remove any app I want, right out of the box, without the need to execute some 3rd party binaries to "jailbreak". But as we all know - most people love to be pulled through the mud (as long as they are made to believe they are being pulled through liquid gold by the hand that pulls them).

    • That may be true, but even with all their crapware, low-end Android devices are mostly faster than the N900, have a better selection of apps, require less end user knowledge of Linux and have a touchscreen that works in the way people expect it to ("Like the Eyefone!")...

      Not sure what your comment is supposed to contribute, really... I like my guitars, and my bed, and my pants... oh and lasagna!

  • by curmudgeon99 (1040054) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @11:16PM (#37187056)
    I have never understood the appeal of mindless games like Angry Birds. The common app phone is such a wasted instrument. How much more it could really be. I will only use apps on my Android phone that I myself wrote.
  • What is Tat? Where do I get it and how do I exchange it for the other one?

    • Where? Either Vietnamese kindergartens around the beginning of the year, or else in ancient Egypt. (Tet for tot, or Tut.)
  • Right. This is why you root your phone. It's to de-crappify it. You take that crap off. I love Cyanogen Mod! Shouts to Cyanogen and congrats on the new job!

    Vendors of phones and network providers refuse to accept the very concept that you own your bloody phone and have a right to do with it what you want. It's the Bell system from the '60's and earlier (pre AT&T divestiture) all over again. They get to tell you what you can do with your property and you will smile and you will like it.

    Apple is ev

    • Freedom is nice. I like having the freedom to configure the phone the way I want, but that freedom usually comes with the necessity to do that configuration. On the other hand, Apple does not allow me to configure many of the iPhone's aspects... but it'll be fine right out of the box, without having to fiddle with it for hours on end. That's not because the iPhone is the greatest thing since sliced bread; it's because it just offers what I want out of a phone. The user experience that Jobs dictates work
  • by PCM2 (4486)

    My phone came with some crapware too, and I can't remove it... but so what? The Kindle App? The Amazon.com shopping app? Some weird subscription GPS app that doesn't work as well as Google Apps? If I can't remove them, why wouldn't I just get over it and ignore them? It's not like they pop up when I don't want them to, like Norton Antivirus on a new PC. They just sit there. So what?

  • This is the problem when the device vendor makes a fatal mistake in judging who their customer is.

    Almost all cases like this they assume that some 3rd party, whether some junk software maker like McAfee or in the case of phones, the carriers, is the customer instead of the end user. So instead of getting a good, clean product (and paying what it actually costs) you get a subsidized version full of garbage.

    This is one reason I refuse to buy devices on contract, and why I build my own PC. Perhaps if the hands

  • Ha! Verizon actually ADDED crapware to my DroidX with a software update that did nothing but force install the demo for some football game that could not be removed.

    Now I use CyanogenMod.

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @01:19AM (#37187786) Journal

    Sorry to these religiously opposed to the iPhone but it doesn't come with any crapware.

    Unless you consider iOS ITSELF to be crapware but I think most people (as indicated by the highest approval ratings in the industry) would disagree.

  • It's pure Google :)

  • PCs evolved in the wild wild west of arpanet, open source, even Microsoft had to deal with the explosion of possibilities, endless sources of hardware, software and content.

    Telephones evolved for a century in the authoritarian straight jacket of Ma Bell, and phone companies are used to controlling every aspect of your digital resource, charging you for everything, forcing you to take what they want to give you. BUSINESS GET"S HARD JUST THINKING ABOUT THIS. The death of the PC will not be because of applicat

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