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Android Phones Burdened by Carrier Junkware

Android Junkware
If you happened to buy a new Droid X yesterday, you may have noticed a couple of apps from Blockbuster and Electronic Arts pre-installed on your device. No, you didn't ask for them, but Motorola and its T-Mobile Verizon carrier thought you might like them. The Blockbuster app provides a map of local retailers and allows users to download films from the company's catalog. Good luck trying to delete the app, though. Sure, you can erase it from your homescreen, but it'll still be there, lurking and taking up space. The EA app, meanwhile, is only a demo racing game that tries to convince users to buy the full version. Unlike the Blockbuster app, the demo is deletable.

As the LA Times reports, it's not just Droid phones that are full of junkware. The Samsung Vibrant, which also launched yesterday, is similarly equipped with four pre-installed apps you never asked for (and probably don't need). If you want to watch the full 'Avatar' movie on your smartphone (and who doesn't?), Samsung's already installed it for you. The new smartphone also features a pre-installed live video channel called MobiTV -- which would be great, if it didn't require users to pay money after 30 days. The smartphone also sports limited apps for a 'Sims' game and Amazon's Kindle.

According to the service providers behind these two smartphones, all this junkware is only intended to make users' lives easier. Ken Muche, a spokesman for Verizon, said that the carrier and Motorola "worked together on what apps shipped with phones to give customers a broad feel for what it can do." T-Mobile spokesman David Henderson defended the Vibrant's junkware on similar grounds, saying it was only there to "deliver a great mobile entertainment experience" to customers. T-Mobile and Verizon aren't the only guilty carriers: the Sprint's HTC Evo clocks users with the now-infamous NASCAR app, which continually loaded at start-up, and couldn't be deleted.

Junkware, however, isn't limited to the Android platform. HTC's HD2, for example, runs on Windows Mobile, and also features strange pre-installed apps. Mobile analyst Steve Drake blames service providers. Since carriers control the promotion, handling and distribution of smartphones, they tend to "have the final say about what goes on," Drake explains. As long as this system persists, then, it seems like many smartphone users will just have to get used to having a lot of extra apps they'll never use. [From: LA Times]

Tags: android, app, apps, Blockbuster, cellphones, droid, droid x, DroidX, htc evo, htc evo 4g, HtcEvo, HtcEvo4g, junkware, samsung vibrant, SamsungVibrant, smartphone, smartphones, sprint, t-mobile, TMobile, top, Verizon, verizon wireless, VerizonWireless



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