There aren’t many smartphone users who are fans of bloatware: The manufacturer-made, own-brand apps that take up storage space and memory without necessarily offering any useful features or functions. Now Samsung has been ordered to give users the option of stripping bloatware off its phones — but only in China.
The move is a result of a lawsuit filed by a consumer rights committee in China, a suit that covered some 20 apps preinstalled on the Galaxy Note 3 (released in September 2013). Samsung lost the legal argument and so next month will release a patch for the Note 3 that lets users dismiss all these apps with a few taps — the company is also likely to tread more carefully when it comes to installing its own apps in the future.
It’s a more difficult issue than it might appear at first: After all, Apple installs plenty of its own apps on the iPhone, and there’s no option to remove them if you want to use iOS (though you can ignore them easily enough). The stock version of Android also has Google apps that can’t be uninstalled from the operating system, but apps from OEMs like Samsung and LG are somehow considered less desirable.
As The Korea Times reports, the Chinese version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 came with 44 preinstalled applications, and 24 of those were required in order to use the phablet. Consumers argued that there weren’t told about these apps in advance and weren’t able to find instructions to remove them. These unwanted apps use up data and cellular bandwidth as well as storage space, the lawsuit argued.
The rest of the world will have to put up with these preloaded apps for the time being — until someone files a lawsuit, at least. The expected launch of the Note 5 and the S6 Edge Plus in August will be another chance to see how much Samsung has taken the ruling to heart.