Anyone who has bought a non-Nexus Android phone through their wireless carrier has probably encountered a significant bloatware problem. It’s particularly bad when you buy a device through your carrier because it means that your device will come with potentially unwanted software from both your OEM and your wireless company, a one-two punch that will hurt your phone’s battery life and performance. Even worse, this bloatware is harder to remove than bloatware on PCs — if you have to do a factory reset of your device, for example, the bloatware will all come back even if you previously uninstalled it.
However, Google is not powerless in this struggle. Wired points out that one potential side benefit of Google becoming an mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is that it could just remove bloatware from Android phones all by itself.
“Google’s Nexus phones are already the most bloatware-free Android handsets out there,” Wired writes. “If Google then becomes a wireless carrier itself — an ‘experiment’ that’s in the works, the company said yesterday — then it could also cut out the carrier-level junk and build a phone that’s completely bloatware free.”
What makes this speculation so interesting is that Google did say earlier this week that it wants to become an MVNO to instill a set of practices for the wireless industry that it hopes other carriers will follow. Specifically, Android boss Sundar Pichai said that Google will “expect carrier partners to adopt” some of the practices it’s put forward in its own service, including the ability for Wi-Fi signals to automatically pick up phone calls if they’re dropped by carriers’ own LTE networks.
While he never specifically mentioned anything about Android, it wouldn’t at all be surprising if Google had some ideas for how to improve Android phones from the carrier end, particularly when it comes not just to bloatware but to pushing out speedier software updates.