Cellphone carriers are very much like OEMs - there's so much pressure to cut costs that they both go to great lengths to squeeze every penny possible out of customers. That means bundling crapware in the form of links and apps. But Android is synonymous with choice and freedom, and customers don't take kindly to being pushed around.
In the UK, Vodafone tried to foist a crapware bundle on HTC Desire owners. What customers initially thought was a "Froyo" Android 2.2 upgrade turned out to be a bundle of crap containing "Vodafone 360 apps and a new Vodafone-branded start-up screen, and added various web shortcuts to the home screen." Not only did the bundle contain web links to dating site (which some users found offensive), but others claimed that the update, which cannot be uninstalled, was buggy and made the handset unstable.
But pressure from users ad the media has caused Vodafone to have a rethink. Here's the official statement from Vodafone:
We've listened to feedback from customers on a number of points around the recent 360 Android 2.1 update and made some changes to the roll out plan.
The Android 2.2 update for Vodafone HTC Desire users will be based on the HTC open market version of the software and we will customise it to ensure our network settings are installed.
For customers who have downloaded the recent 360 update for Android 2.1, we can confirm that the Android 2.2 update will remove the 360 applications and will leave the homepage and bookmarks on your current settings.
Customers who want to access the 360 services will be able to do so once the Android 2.2 compatible version is available and, in the meantime, can now download apps like 360 People from the Android Marketplace.
We plan to make the 360 apps available in a separate update for the HTC Desire at a later date, giving customers the choice to download it.
We will let you know when the date for delivery of the Android 2.2 update is finalised, but, subject to testing, we expect this to be in 7-10 days time.
Administrator Vodafone eForum
Giving the customer choices and freedoms goes against the grain for carriers.