Are Smartphones the New Breeding Ground for Crapware?

A complaint filed with Verizon was cc’d to The Consumerist regarding what the complainant believes to be unnecessary software pre-loaded on to his Droid Incredible. We here would call that “crapware”. The plaintiff uses much harsher language.

What I am writing about is Verizon’s deplorable, and borderline unethical, inclusion of scads of bloatware and adware applications on this device, which in and of itself is a disgusting practice by an OEM, be it smartphones, desktops, laptops or any other related type of device, but made all the more unacceptable by the fact that there is no possible way of removing said applications. Dare I remind you that these devices we purchase from you are our property? To do with as we see fit? We are not renting or otherwise leasing these devices from you.

I suppose it should not surprise me that a wireless carrier is pre-loading crapware on to a smartphone, but it is a disappointing turnaround from the restraint that’s been shown thus far. I do not believe there have been such complaints about the previous Droid phones or any Android phones, and certainly I hadn’t seen it on my Droid. Presumably it’s possible to root the phone and strip it clean, but that’s not exactly a consumer-friendly approach to the problem.

He cites City ID as the worst of the bunch, and similar complaints about it have been verbalized this past week. Apparently it’s been “nagging” users to sign up for Verizon’s City ID service after they make calls. The service, which they introduced in Sept 2008, enables calls to be recognized by the city and state of the registered number and costs $1.99 a month. To me, that sounds way too pricey for what it does and I certainly wouldn’t want my phone asking if I want to sign up for the service. I worry that this is just the beginning of a whole new wave of crapware to come.

Comments

  1. GoodThings2Life says

    Indeed, it’s bad enough they are including garbage apps at all, but without a mechanism to uninstall the crapware, it makes it unacceptable in my book. Just makes give pause to pre-buying any device anymore. I really want to see it and know what I’m buying first.

  2. Charles says

    This has been a major pet peeve of mine for years. Computers usually only give the illusion of uninstalling this crap ware. If you dig around you will see that much of it is never removed. It’s left there “in case you change your mind later.” Right?!?! Thus the first thing I, and many users do, is a clean install of the OS, which of course makes all the “one touch restores” obsolete. All in all, they care little about the users experience and only their bottom line. . . one would think that they would clue in and try to get customer loyalty.

  3. Paladin says

    Good luck with convincing the networks to not install crapware.

    Even my Nexus One, a phone made directly by Google and supposed completely unlocked, has Amazon MP3 Store that i can only uninstall if i root my phone (and i will eventually, for other reasons, but the fact that i get rid of that DRM crap is going to be a small satisfaction)

    Until regular users start noticing and protesting, the companies will be happy to shove crapware down our throats. And the users won’t get a clue… let’s face it, most users have a hard time finding what the app drawer is for, much less understanding what is part of the OS and what is not.

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