Android crapware - Greed at the expense of reputation and user experience

Android crapware - Greed at the expense of reputation and user experience

Summary: Putting greed ahead of the user experience and Android's reputation, carriers continue to shovel crapware onto Android handsets - and if you don't know how to root the device, it'll be there forever.

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TOPICS: Android, Google, Hardware
130

PC Pro's Mike Jennings blows off steam about a problem that we PC users have known about for years but which is now making its way onto Android handsets - crapware, bloatware and shovelware.

We're all aware of the problems of crapware on PCs (you smug Mac users can continue to be smug ...). The OEMs are paid money to install performance sucking junk onto PCs before consumers ever get their hands on them. Fortunately this stuff's pretty easy to get rid of using a tool like CCleaner.

But now network carriers are shoveling steaming piles of crapware onto Android handsets. Why? Because they get paid to do so, and Google allows them to do it (isn't that Android 'freedom' a wonderful thing?). Jennings lists just some of the crapware he found installed on his HTC Desire HD:

It's not restricted to Sony Ericsson handsets, either. HTC's often held up as the paragon of Android quality - alongside Samsung - but my own Desire HD is riddled with stuff that I simply don't want: 3Mobile-TV, 3Musik and Planet3 were all installed alongside third-party apps such as Amazon MP3, Bebo, Bejeweled Deluxe and a demo of EA's Sims 3.

Someone's been busy shoveling that onto there.

The solution - rooting. Now if you're reading this then chances are that you're either capable of rooting an Android handset, or know how to find out how to root an Android handset. But spare a thought for those folks who not only wouldn't have a clue about how to root, but don't even know you can do such a thing. For these users, the crapware is going to be on the handset forever.

The Jennings delivers a hard blow to Android:

... this greed continues, and comes at the expense of Android's reputation and, more importantly, the tarnished experience that users will have with their new phones - after all, this sort of thing doesn't happen on iOS.

No, it doesn't.

Topics: Android, Google, Hardware

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  • RE: Android crapware - Greed at the expense of reputation and user experience

    So what does a non tech lover of the droid3 do.....how do I find someone who can root my droid and what is the process of rooting( simply put).............
    Hvarsov
    • Locked boot loader on Droid 3 I think.

      @Hvarsov

      Makes the rooting process very difficult.
      Bruizer
      • So much for open.

        @Bruizer
        matthew_maurice
      • RE: Android crapware - Greed at the expense of reputation and user experience

        @Bruizer

        Locked bootloader has nothing to do with rooting. If you want to install custom ROMs, sure, a locked bootloader can complicate things - but even then the dev community usually finds a way around it. Nice try, though, Apple shill (that goes for you too matthew_maurice).

        To the original poster, try doing a Google search - "droid 3 root". There are lots of forums out there with information on rooting most Android devices. Rooting my Droid 2 was as easy as installing an app, z4root, and running it - hardly difficult. BTW, the Droid 2 also has a locked bootloader, but it has simple rooting options as well as several custom ROM options available.
        NetAdmin1178
      • NetAdmin1178: the Droid 3 is not a Droid 2

        And as of three weeks ago, the standard rooting tools were not working. Nice attempt at being an Android/Google apologist but FAIL!!!
        Bruizer
      • RE: Android crapware - Greed at the expense of reputation and user experience

        @Matthew_Maurice OK, time for an education! Open Source means the source Code is Open (which it is for Smartphones)!

        Now, just because the source is available does not mean that the system will not come with preinstallee apps at all. These preinstalled Apps are not the same as Apples but Apple has their own apps installed...

        Also, Nexus Lines of phones are generic Android without any reason to root.
        slickjim
      • RE: Android crapware - Greed at the expense of reputation and user experience

        @Bruizer Right Bruizer, and that never happens to the Jailbreak Apps when a New Os comes out does it?
        slickjim
      • RE: Android crapware - Greed at the expense of reputation and user experience

        @Peter Perry [b]Right Bruizer, and that never happens to the Jailbreak Apps when a New Os comes out does it?[/b] Not unless the user of a jailbroken device is not savvy enough to wait until the new iOS version has a jailbreak available for it. And thus far every single version of iOS has been jailbreakable including the betas for the upcoming iOS 5. Just like the rooting process one has to do research. But don't let the facts stop you from spreading your FUD.
        athynz
        • 6.0.1

          iOS is currently at 6.0.1
          MajorlyCool
          • Doh

            I didn't notice the dates of these posts, please disregard.
            MajorlyCool
    • Rooting

      @Hvarsov, rooting an Android phone is not without its risks, from bricking it to making it more vulnerable to malware. But it can be done and does offer a lot more possibilities, from uninstalling unwanted bundled apps to performing more thorough backups of your phone's system and data, to accessing system folders, tethering and so on.

      Every new model and Android version has its problems and different procedures. When a model is brand new, it may take some time until they find a way to root it - usually a couple of months. It can be as simple as installing a certain app that will do the whole job, or it can be a tricky procedure using complicated software on a PC and the USB cable. Mileage varies immensely and you'd better Google it.

      However, rest assured that it can be done - if not now, in a short time. I have a Motorola Defy, which is somewhere between the first Droid and the Droid 2. It originally came with Android 2.1 (Eclair), and in spite of the locked bootloader, it was VERY easy to root. That allowed me to get rid of all that Motoblur crap, which is inefficient, has privacy concerns and eats up a lot of your bandwidth allowance ($$$, unless you have an unlimited data plan).

      After I upgraded it (official Motorola update) to Android 2.2 (Froyo), the former procedure didn't work any more and I had to wait a while until they found a way to root the Defy with Froyo. It was a bit more complicated, but it was done. Motorola is not going to release a 2.3 (Gingerbread) update for the Defy, but there are CyanogenMod and several other ROMs that can be used, and all can be rooted. I don't think it should be any different with the Droid 3 - if not now, just wait a little while. But first read something about what rooting is, the risks and benefits, so you know what you are doing. It gives you a lot of freedom - including the freedom to do bad things to your phone.
      goyta
      • No mods on the Droid 2

        @goyta

        While the locked bootloader doesn't stop you from rooting it, it does stop you from installing custom mods. An original Droid, overclocked, with a good build of FroYo kills the Droid 2 in performance. Even a rooted Droid 2 with all the crap uninstalled.
        LiquidLearner
  • Crapware on Android

    I've been bitching about this for months regarding a Samsung Galaxy Tab from Verizon. What suddenly has caused ZDNet to wake up?

    I've also pointed out the lack of technical support for Android (at least via Samsung and Verizon). My Tab is still running 2.2, and email still doesn't work properly. This email problem, btw, was first reported in 12/2009.

    For all intents and purposes, Android is firmware, not software. What you get long-term is what's there (bugs, warts and all) when you purchase the device.
    FeralUrchin
    • RE: Android crapware - Greed at the expense of reputation and user experience

      @FeralUrchin
      I HATE TO Say it but you should have gone with iPad... 0 issues here, everything works and if I need flash I just run Splashtop and use Chrome..
      Hasam1991
      • I really hate to say it

        @Hasam1991

        But I agree with you 100%. If I were going to buy a tablet today there would be absolutely zero choice in the matter, it would be an iPad.
        LiquidLearner
      • LiquidLearner: yes, the tablet market is a sick market

        There is absolutely no effective competition in that market. While we may reap the short term benefits of that, this utter domination has allowed Apple preferential prices from suppliers and an ecosystem that will never be matched by anyone else. These 2 factors alone ensure that no other tablet will be able to start from scratch and offer effective competition to the iPad. Ever.

        We all lose.
        toddybottom
      • I'm a victim of Crapware... but NOT on my Apples

        @Hasam1991
        Personal timeline:
        2010/2011... Three Android junk tablets and one Android phone (HTC Desire). So much crapware they're barely functional! Sold the tablets, kept the phone (and the frustration).
        2009/2011... Two Macs and one iPad. Absolutely no crapware. The iPad should theoretically be slower than one of my Android tablets, but in reality it's much, much faster.

        I've given up listening to Android fanatics. Their reality and mine are on two separate plains.
        camcost@...
      • RE: Android crapware - Greed at the expense of reputation and user experience

        @Hasam1991 Well that isn't accurate! Apps bought from the App store don't always work and there's no refund option.
        slickjim
      • RE: Android crapware - Greed at the expense of reputation and user experience

        @Peter Perry [b]Well that isn't accurate! Apps bought from the App store don't always work and there's no refund option.[/b]

        Bullsh1t... especially the [i]Apps bought from the App store don't always work[/i] part. Cough up some proof.
        athynz
      • Very true

        @toddybottom

        It's sad but true. Apple is in a position of dominance right now in the tablet market that's going to be very difficult to dislodge. I will say almost impossible given the Google and Microsoft startegy of focusing on the OS and not the complete product. Could Microsoft rival the iPad in pricing? Easily, if they were to build a product and not sell the OS independently. I think that would be bad though, I think most would agree with that, which makes it very difficult for someone to crack that market.

        We'll see if Windows 8 can do it, perhaps if Intel really gets their S together they could build the hardware and launch their own tablet with Windows 8. It might be smart as everyone will be eyeing ARM for tablets, but if Intel (or AMD) can build a better tablet at a better price point they could do some serious damage.

        Android could if Google would stop screwing around with their OS. I think this is a major drawback of open source software and giving away the OS. There is nothing to stop everyone else from doing whatever they want. Also litigation would fall on Google instead of the OEMs using Android and it's unlikely Microsoft would go after Google with law suits. Plus Google could charge for their OS and not rely only on advertising revenue.
        LiquidLearner