Here's why carriers don't like Android handsets

Here's why carriers don't like Android handsets

Summary: 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.

SHARE:

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:

Hi everyone

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.

Thanks

Administrator Vodafone eForum

Giving the customer choices and freedoms goes against the grain for carriers.

Topics: Security, Browser, Software Development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

47 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • In future...

    ...Vodaphone will make sure that their phones ship with the crapware preinstalled.
    IE9
  • My next phone will be a Nokia, again.

    I was never disappointed by my purchase of a Nokia.
    The N95 was the best of breed in 2007, and in some cases I am doing things with it that my counterparts cannot with their iPhones.

    There is no better phone than Nokia, quality, top design, engineering the way 'it should be'.

    The nokia phone I buy will be unlocked to begin with--no jailbreaking required.

    I'll wait for the next iteration of the N900 which should be out in the spring of 2011.

    People are using two hands with the iPhone. How is that a design improvement?

    I use just one with the N95.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Here's why carriers don't like Android handsets

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate

      Same here. For me it's a Nokia E72 (in the US: E73 Mode). If you're considering upgrading from the N95, give it a thought - I love it! :)
      Daniel Breslauer
    • As long as you are not on T-Mobile & want 3G with that unlocked phone

      T-Mobile seems to play a game by having slightly different frequencies for their 3G then other carriers. Take the Nokia 5230 & the Nokia Nuron.

      Only difference other then the T-Mobile branding on the set & the frequencies. The 5230 will only be able to use EGDE with the Nuron will get 3G.

      And here I thought the same thing locked or unlocked would work, but nope. Had to sell the 5230 & Purchase a Nuron to use 3G on T-Mobile. I understand the 5230 works great on AT&T with up to 3.5G speeds.
      jhimes
      • Carriers are assigned frequencies by governments

        @jhimes
        T-Mobile does not "play games" with frequencies. Each carrier is assigned (licensed) specific different frequencies by the FCC (in USA), just like TV and radio stations.
        gmeader
      • AT&T plays the same game then too

        @jhimes Everyone always harps on T-Mobile being different with 1700 MHz, but AT&T is too with their 850 MHz that requires a special build over what is available in Europe. Both US GSM carriers have special 3G frequencies so you can't just say it is T-Mobile.
        palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
    • RE: Here's why carriers don't like Android handsets

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate

      Glad you're happy with your Nokia. I'm curious, though; are you not allowed to use it with two hands? Personally, I have no problem using my iPhone with one hand. Is this illegal? Do I have to use two hands?
      msalzberg
    • RE: Here's why carriers don't like Android handsets

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
      I know the op is 6 months old. The old saying goes, oh what a difference a day makes. Now nokia's os has lost it's position of number one in worldwide sales. Nokia is trying to decide whether to switch to win phone or android or try making both, the way Palm failed to succeed with win and palm os. Good luck to them, but it seems symbian's days are numbered.

      Personally, I never liked nokia, but I know they were wildly popular for about 5 minutes in the US back in the late 90's. I understand they have done much better in other countries. For all their loyal customers, I hope they weather the changes well.
      rskog
  • Hmm

    I'm running a Nexus One and never had these issues. The issue I have is that Vodafone seem to have abandoned use N1 users altogether when it comes to OTA updates.
    robinduckett
    • oat

      @robinduckett
      this will happen with any android handset. after one or two updates that you may get from your carrier (if your lucky) they will abandon you alltogether. that's why apple's carrier independent centralized upgrade model is so superior.
      banned from zdnet
      • And Apple doesn't abandon you?

        @banned from zdnet

        Apple abandons you in a different way. They underpower their units so that, even though you "qualify" for an update, your 2 year old phone can't handle it.

        Just wait until IOS4 hit the 256Mb of RAM in the iPad and see how great you think Apple is.
        trickytom2
      • What a load of horsec**p

        @banned from zdnet
        Seriously, you couldn't have made a better story up if you had tried. I know you Apple lovers live in a world of koolaid-induced RDF, but don't apply that thinking to people who actually learned how to think for themselves.

        Android updates are only dependent on the hardware requirements of the newest update. My HTC Hero has gone from 1.5 to 2.1 and the only reason 2.2 isn't in the pipeline is because 2.2 expects a Snapdragon (or equivalent) processor to handle all the new features like, for instance, the new Voice Search released today.

        Of course, what you failed to mention, was that iOS4 cannot be applied in full to all the previous iPhone / iPod Touch versions can it! In fact, only the 3GS / iPod 3G can utilize iOS4 in full. The 3G cannot do multitasking, wallpapers or use a BT keyboard and the poor 2G and 1G get no iOS4 love whatsoever.

        ...and that's why Apple's carrier independent centralized upgrade model is so superior is it?

        Like I said, a load of horsec..p with, IMHO, a liberal sprinkling of paid pro-Apple commenter FUD thrown in for good measure.

        Back down the hole troll, and I really wish your username was true!
        Scrat
      • ouch

        @Scrat

        wow, i really hit a nerve here, didn't i?
        most of the android phones are stuck with the os version they have shipped with (1.5, 1.6) because a lot of carriers (here in europe for instance) don't even bother to provide ANY update, let alone the newest.

        the truth hurts. obviously.
        banned from zdnet
    • Nexus One is an orphan.

      @robinduckett The Nexus One was an anomaly among Android devices. It was Google's attempt to keep a "pure" Android device out in the ecosystem, free from carrier and OEM additions, and the fact that it's no longer sold to anyone but registered developers should tell you everything you need to know about how successful that experiment was.
      matthew_maurice
      • It's sold to anyone with Vodafone in the UK...

        @matthew_maurice

        ...so not just an experiment.
        DevJonny
  • Carriers & OEMs should get out of my way!

    I want vanilla plain Android.

    I don't want OEM crapware. I don't want carrier crapware. Just pure Android, with the real Android interface.

    OEMs should just deliver hardware (and have nothing to do with software)

    Carriers should just deliver me zeros and ones. No software. No content. Just internet data.

    Before you buy a phone, ask the carrier to admit to you what garbage and trash they have installed on it.
    Vbitrate
    • RE: Here's why carriers don't like Android handsets

      @Market Analyst

      Then offer to pay a fair price for it. Just remember, though, that a fair price means the seller has to make a fair profit.

      Personally I'm going to stick with HTC Android phones because of the active open developer community that allows you put whatever bits you want on your phone whether vanilla or with all the trimmings, regardless of what was initially given to you.
      Michael Kelly
    • Agree 100%

      @Market Analyst

      I want to control MY phone. Sell me the bandwidth (for the phone of my choice) and get the hell out of my way. The only reason they want to control you is to keep sticking their hand in your pocket. It does NOT work for me.
      Economister
      • RE: Here's why carriers don't like Android handsets

        @Economister

        Well if you want to pay $500-$700 for ab unlocked, unsubsidized phone then do so. But as long as carriers are selling phones at an 80% discount with two year contract they are going to do what they need to do in order to profit, be it branded apps or what have you. Funny how that works, when you lose hundreds of dollars on a sale of a product you want to find some way to make up the difference.
        Doctor Demento
      • Not "funny"

        @Doctor Demento<br><br>Only ignorant consumers fall for that scam (of which there are obviously plenty). The carriers are not selling ANYTHING at an 80% discount. They simply charge 20% up front and structure the balance 80% as a periodic payment for the duration of the contract, lumped in with the payment for access/bandwidth so you are less likely to catch on, which you obviously have not.<br><br>I would be perfectly happy to pay in full for the phone up front and then go to the carrier of my choice for the plan of my choice, on a monthly basis, no contract. If consumers had any balls/brains, they would demand nothing less, but most consumers are sheep.<br><br>As the saying goes: There is no free lunch
        Economister