For many years now, smartphone companies—especially the likes of HTC, Samsung and Sony have been preinstalling applications referred to as ‘bloatware’ in their smartphones. These apps function alongside the Android interface that has been originally programmed by Google. For many customers, this bloatware, which is either difficult or at times impossible to remove from their smartphones, has been a pet peeve. But the issue has reached a whole new level now with a consumer group in China suing Samsung Electronics and Oppo for too many such preinstalled apps.
The lawsuit against the two electronics companies was filed by the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission after it conducted a study entailing about 20 smartphone models made by several leading OEMs. The group found that many of these smartphones were sold with a number of pre-installed apps that consumers could not delete even if they wanted to.
Popular products such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are on the crosshairs of the consumer group – the smartphone ships with a staggering 44 pre-installed apps. Oppo beats this number with its Oppo Find 7A, which is sold on the market with 71 preinstalled apps. Most of these applications are for online dictionaries, e-commerce sites, games, and other software that the company decides to install, anticipating its consumers’ needs.
According to the consumer rights company, the preinstalled apps are a direct violation of the rights of consumers. The consumer rights group is now demanding that companies that sell smartphones with such bloatware clearly indicate which apps have been installed in the smartphone. The group has also asked that consumers be given the ability to delete applications that they do not wish to retain once they have purchased the smartphone.
In the meanwhile, Samsung has enabled consumers to delete the bloatware in two models – the Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S6; however, its other smartphone models do not allow this yet.