Bloatware has become a cause of concern with smartphone users lately. It is a software being packed with excessive features and consumes a considerable amount of disk space and RAM to install and run. It is inefficiently designed and is slow, taking up a lot of system resources. This trend of disregarding size of the applications by software developers has been termed as creeping featuritis owing to the decreasing cost of RAM and disk storage.
The Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission has finally filed lawsuits against tech giants Samsung and Oppo alleging that the companies are selling their smartphones with pre-installed apps that are difficult to uninstall. The Chinese consumer protection group says that it took the drastic step after receiving a number of complaints from users on this matter. The group claims that the manufacturers are installing apps which take up too much storage space on users’ phones and slurp down excessive quantities of data. According to a report by Shanghai Daily, some of the apps pre-installed in the devices sold by the two companies ‘stole’ cellular data from the phones and several of the 20 phones analyzed featured these apps.
The case filed by the council is a first of its kind to be accepted by the Shanghai Court; according to which, the offending models were a Samsung SM-N9008S (Samsung Galaxy Note 3), which had 44 apps installed prior to purchase including an electronic dictionary along with an online shopping program and the Oppo X9007 model (Oppo Find 7A), which had 71 such programs crammed into the internal memory including various games and other apps. The case also states that consumer rights were being infringed as these companies had not informed the buyers of such apps.
A ruling from the court is being awaited which would compel the manufacturers to label the pre-installed apps on the devices’ packaging and instructions for users to safely uninstall them. The report states that Samsung and Oppo have two weeks from the date of the cases being accepted to enter a defense and after that, the court will likely announce the trial dates.
The court had in the past ruled in favor of Apple when a similar case was filed against the Cupertino company regarding user data. It is found that the Chinese Galaxy Note 4 also bears apps like Baidu Search Widget along with other software which hcannot be uninstalled from the phone.
Tao Ailian, Commission Secretary-General said “We hope it will force other companies in the sector to end the unreasonable, but common, practice of pre-installing apps without telling consumers. This is something that is very much necessary for the healthy development of the whole industry”.
Hopefully the court rules in favour of consumers putting an end to the ongoing trend of installing unnecessary apps or at least informing users about their presence and aiding them in getting rid of the bloatware.