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How one country is fighting for your right to delete smartphone bloatware

Published Jan 24th, 2014 1:55PM EST
Android Smartphone Bloatware Apps

One thing Android smartphones are highly criticized for is the amount of bloatware – whether it comes from OEMs or carriers – that can clog the overall experience, not to mention take up precious storage space on the device. Such software that’s preloaded on devices can’t be deleted by users in most cases – at least not in an easy, user-friendly fashion – but starting with April that’s about to change, at least in South Korea, ZDNet reports.

The country’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning issued a press release on Thursday mandating that carriers and OEMs give users the ability to quickly delete any unwanted software from their devices.

“The move aims to rectify an abnormal practice that causes inconvenience to smartphone users and causes unfair competition among industry players” the ministry said. The only pre-installed apps that can’t be deleted by the user should be those related to Wi-Fi connectivity, near field communication (NFC), customer service center and app store.

The Galaxy S4 is one device whose storage is clogged by bloatware apps. Yonhap News explains that SK Telecom’s version has 80 pre-installed apps out of the box, including 25 provided by the carrier and 39 coming from Samsung. The remaining 16 apps are coming from Google, and they may not qualify as bloatware, but they must still be deletable.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.