AH Bloatware-2

Android Headliner: How Much Bloatware Is Too Much?

July 20, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

Bloatware is a thing that nobody particularly enjoys. If someone says they like the fact that the manufacturers put all their proprietary apps on there, they’re lying to you. Some people might be OK with those apps being there from OEMs when they go to buy a new phone, or they may not mind that their carrier places their “enhancement” apps on the device before it gets put into the hands of the consumer, but that is simply “dealing” with those apps. The question is, how much bloatware is too much? When does it cross that threshold of being borderline insane to have the number of carrier and/or OEM bloat to be pre-installed onto your device so that they’re staring you in the face as you power it on for the first time?

Now, this is where some would chime in and say that any bloatware at all is too much. “Hi sir, want me to show you this cool app? We placed it on here for your….” Yeah, no thanks. I am one of those people that prefers to have as little to no bloatware as possible. If I can get away with having none at all, I’m extremely happy. The reason being for myself is that simply put, the bloat apps from carriers and manufacturers just sit there and take up space. Yes, they’re there and intended for the users benefit, and some people may even get heavy use out of them. And that’s just fine. I personally don’t care for any of the apps that my carrier has ever wanted me to use. If I want to check my account, i’ll just log in to the website, I don’t need an app notifying me every couple of minutes about some new feature or plan offering. Some people love it though.

The fact remains though that bloat apps take up space. Sometimes A LOT of space, and that just causes the user to have less space to use for other things. For most of today’s devices it is becoming an even more rare occasion that the average user runs into space or memory issues, but that is simply because the storage space internally on phones is rising. It will be harder to run out of room. For power users though, those who want every ounce of storage they can squeeze out of the device, having nearly half of the internal storage space taken up by manufacturer bloatware(we’re talking about you Samsung. The Galaxy S5 does not need that much bloat)is unacceptable. Your other alternative is spending more money. You could always buy a huge memory card to get all the space you’ll ever need, or just buy the device model with the larger hard drive, but users shouldn’t have to do that just to get the amount of space that’s advertised.

The other issue with bloatware is that sometimes, perhaps not as much now, but in some cases bloat can even make your device lag a little bit. Some users may not notice this, and it could all depend on the amount of RAM your device has, or they may simply just not know why their device is running a little slower and shrug it off. Less bloat on the phone though means less bloat that will be running in the background, which means more open memory for your phone to divert elsewhere to other tasks. Maybe this is just me being a tad bit picky, but bloat also makes my phone feel more, well… bloated. It feels less organized and more of a mess. Sure, there’s technically a way around this, by hiding the apps in the drawer. At least that way you don’t have to see them every time you go into the app drawer right? That is a temporary fix, a band aide if you will. Because the apps are still there, and they’re still taking up space and memory that you could otherwise be using for other more useful apps, that actually serve a purpose for you.

Bloat has never really had a general positive stigma among users, even more average consumers are starting to feel fed up with all the stuff that comes pre-installed. I personally would rather just install the apps that I know I’ll use. If I don’t like them or I end up never using them, I can simply uninstall them. The other issue with Bloatware, they’re on your device for good. You can root your device and throw on a custom ROM, and that will certainly get rid of all carrier and OEM bloat. However that voids your warranty and users shouldn’t have to do that if their only goal is to get rid of pre-installed apps. So, how much is too much bloat? While I have a clear distaste for apps that the carrier or manufacturers think that I’ll absolutely love, I don’t mind a few apps. I might end up using them. I wouldn’t mind a few more of them if there was an option to uninstall what I didn’t want. That isn’t the case though. Without a root and ROM process, those apps are stuck there, and not by choice of the user. An easy way around this, could be for the carriers or OEMs to have a little tutorial pop up that asks which carrier or manufacturer apps you may want to install, and give the user the option to skip past the ones they don’t care for. It puts choice back in the users hands, and could do a great deal of good to alleviate customer dissatisfaction over many of the issues that arise over bloatware.