One of the things that has always bothered me about some manufacturers of Android devices is that they preinstall all kinds of software on their phones that you cannot delete. Samsung is particularly notorious for this. My wife's Galaxy S4, for example, came with a Samsung equivalent app for each of Google's services. Plus, it came with a few legitimate apps like Flipboard and Dropbox preinstalled. She doesn't use any of these apps, and none of them can be deleted, not even Flipboard and Dropbox. The only thing that can be done is to "turn off" these unwanted apps, which basically disables them, but they still take up space on the device.

It is not a stretch to believe that Samsung feels that it is in their best interest to preinstall these apps, as this practice is just one of the ways they differentiate themselves from the slew of other Android devices on the market. In fact, the pre-installation of certain applications is a common practice amongst almost all Android OEMs. However, some of the blame also lies directly with Google. While Android itself is open source, the Google-blessed Android devices that most people associate with “real” Android, such as the Galaxy S4, are not. Google has a specific set of criteria that all Android OEMs that produce Google-blessed devices must adhere to. For example, the devices have to offer Google's suite of apps, run Play Services, and now even have “Powered by Android” on the boot up screen. Since Google has a large influence over their platform, I strongly believe that Google should put more pressure on the device manufacturers to allow the deletion of these unwanted, preinstalled apps that essentially amount to crapware. It would certainly make for a better customer experience, especially for devices with limited storage capacity. To be clear, it is not the preinstallation of these apps that is bothersome to me. Rather, what I take issue with is the fact that these unwanted apps cannot be uninstalled.

My LG G2 also had this issue, although not to the extent that wife's Galaxy does. In my G2's last days (before it met its end via a drop to concrete and a seriously cracked screen), it was running Cyanogenmod because I was fed up with LG's version of Android. While I had previously given praise to LG for some of their modifications to their version of Android, I had since become disillusioned with it, especially LG's suite of apps, the user interface and the lack of frequent OS updates. Seeing all the crap on my wife's phone that cannot be uninstalled makes me really glad I switched to Windows Phone. That said, while I still prefer Android to iOS, and I would still recommend Android to certain people if Windows Phone was for some reason not a fit for them, I would only recommend a Google Play edition device, a Nexus device, or one of the current crop of Motorola devices, such as the Moto G or Moto X. These devices receive quick OS updates or (in the case of the Nexus devices) OS updates directly from Google, and they do not come loaded with crapware that cannot be uninstalled. To improve customer experience, device makers like Samsung should follow Motorola's lead by offering basically stock Android, and/or, as stated above, Google should fix this issue at their end by making it possible to uninstall this unwanted software.

Table of Contents