Get a demo Do I subscribe? News sign-up
Print

Smartphone users to get app freedom

News, 21 September 2015

SHANGHAI: Samsung has said it will allow users to remove pre-installed apps from its smartphones, in response to a lawsuit brought against it by the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission.

The Commission had claimed that Samsung had infringed consumers' right of knowing and selection and that some apps "stole" data, Sina reported.

It highlighted one particular model with 44 apps that could not be removed but now users will be able to uninstall more than half of them, the exceptions being those with basic functions such as camera, clock and calendar.

Samsung said it will provide information on all pre-installed apps and instructions on its websites and product packaging as to how these can be removed if users do not want them.

The issue – a long-standing source of annoyance for many users who regard such apps as "bloatware" consuming storage space and memory – has gained wider attention recently.

Pressed on the subject by a Buzzfeed reporter, Apple's Tim Cook, said: "This is a more complex issue than it first appears. There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone. If they were to be removed they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone."

But he said that over time Apple would figure out a way to enable users to remove those pre-installed apps that didn't affect the phone's performance.

"It's not that we want to suck up your real estate," he insisted. "We're not motivated to do that."

"We want you to be happy. So I recognize that some people want to do this, and it's something we're looking at."

Last month Google relaxed its insistence that its Android handset partners install a bundle of mandatory apps. Android Central reported that Google Play Games, Google Play Books, Google+ and Google Newsstand were the latest of its apps that were no longer a required part of the Google applications package.

"This is how things ought to be," the reporter said. "I don't want applications I'll never use to be preinstalled on my phone. The less bloatware that gets tossed in my face, the better."

Data sourced from Sina, Buzzfeed, Android Central; additional content by Warc staff