South Korea rules pre-installed phone bloatware must be deletable

Summary:New guidelines will require the industry to allow smartphone users the option to delete unnecessary pre-loaded applications, to rectify unreasonable practices and reduce inconvenience.

Smartphone users in South Korea will soon be able to have the option of deleting unnecessary pre-installed bloatware, thanks to new industry guidelines commencing in April.

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Samsung's S4 released by SK Telecom has a total of 80 pre-installed apps.

"The move aims to rectify an abnormal practice that causes inconvenience to smartphone users and causes unfair competition among industry players," said the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, in a press release.

The measure will also help give users more data storage and improve battery life, said the ministry.

Under the new guidelines, telcos are required to make most of their pre-installed apps deletable except for four necessary items related to Wi-Fi connectivity, near-field communication (NFC), the customer service center and the app store.

For example, Samsung's Galaxy S4 released by SK Telecom has a total of 80 apps pre-installed, including 25 apps loaded by the telco, 39 by Samsung and 16 by the OS provider Google, noted Yonhap News. When the new guidelines kick in, at least half of those apps can be deleted, it added.

Topics: Apps, Korea, Smartphones

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Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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