Bloatware - a creeping problem

Summary:Verizon loads phones to the gills with unneeded, unwanted and non-removable software.

I've subscribed to the services of many different suppliers of wireless communications and have used handsets from many different suppliers. At this moment, I'm using an HTC Thunderbolt on Verizon's network.

My early experiences with wireless service providers was fairly good, but dropped calls, little or no service available in a specific area and distorted conversations were an ever present potential problem.

As handsets evolved into powerful handheld computers another problem joined the list - bloatware. Bloatware is software pre-installed by the service provider before handing equipment over to its customers. On occasion that software is a welcome addition. Most of the time, in my experience, it is an unwelcome land grab of the customer's memory, network use and even external storage. Even worse, most of the time this unwanted, unneeded, and less-than-useful software can not be removed unless the owner voids his/her product warranty to root the phone and load different software.

I guess Verizon, AT&T Wireless, and other wireless suppliers have forgotten who purchased and owns the device. They act as if they still own it even though the customer purchased it with hard earned money.

The HTC Thunderbolt is a nice HTC Android device that came with the following software that I don't use, didn't want and can't remove:

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Verizon Backup Assistant (tied to a service offering I don't use)
  • Bitbop
  • Blockbuster
  • Friendstream
  • Let's Golf 2
  • Mobile Hotspot (a poor replacement for the native Android hotspot that is tied to charging the user again for the "unlimited" data plan they've already purchased)
  • Peep (a poor Twitter client)
  • Rhapsody (a music service)
  • Rock Band (a game)
  • TuneWiki (lord knows what this is)
  • V CAST Media
  • V CAST Music
  • V CAST Tones
  • V CAST Videos
  • VZ Navigator

What's really irritating is when updates to these items are made available. A notice of the updates is presented on the phone. If one ignores these updates long enough, Verizon has set up the phone to automatically download them.  Verizon, have you forgotten that you're making people pay for the network bandwidth used to download and update these unwanted, unneeded and unused pieces of software?

I, for one, want a refund and a way to remove this junk from my handset that won't also void my warranty.

Topics: Mobility, Wi-Fi

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He is responsible for research, publications, and operations. Mr. Kusnetzky has been involved with information technology since the late 1970s. Mr. Kusnetzky has been responsible for research operations at the 451 Group; corporate and... Full Bio

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