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Sprint adding bloatware removal ability to its Android devices

News by Dan Seifert on Friday June 24, 2011.

sprint · android news · smartphone news · dan seifert

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News that the HTC EVO 3D had the ability to remove pre-installed apps hit the wires yesterday to much fanfare and appreciation from users and press alike. We reached out to Sprint to get more clarification on the topic and found out that it was in fact intentional, and that we could be seeing more of this in the future.

Bloatware, as pre-installed software has been affectionately termed, has become a bit of a plague on modern smartphones (especially Android), as carriers use it to offset the cost of devices by using it as another revenue stream. Pre-installed apps take up space in the phone's storage and get in the way of other apps as they clog up application trays with unnecessary icons. Many users find the software to be of little to no use, and very often these permanent icons are just links to download the software from an application store. Verizon Wireless and AT&T are notorious for this practice (I'm looking at you CityID), though we have heard from sources that AT&T is looking to cut back on the pre-installed apps on its future devices.

Sprint has gone the other direction entirely, allowing users to remove the pre-installed apps and replace them with apps of their own choosing. The EVO 3D does not come with a relatively high number of carrier-loaded apps to begin with, but the few that are there can be selectively removed by the end-user (with the exception of Sprint ID). Sprint says that it intentionally did this in response to consumer feedback, and that it looks to continue the practice in the future, though there is no policy on the matter at this point in time. Sprint is the only carrier that we are aware of (in the U.S. at least) that allows users to uninstall apps that come loaded on an Android smartphone. Of course Apple does not allow carriers to load such apps on the iPhone at all, and Windows Phone has always limited the number of pre-installed carrier apps while also allowing them to be removed by the user.

We, as reviewers and users alike, look forward to seeing more of this in the future, and as more and more users catch on and realize that carrier apps often do not provide much value, hopefully other carriers will hear the cries as well. For now though, it looks like Sprint might be your best option to get an Android smartphone sans bloatware.

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About the author

Dan Seifert
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.

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