Most Android smartphone manufacturers have invested heavily over the years in teams of software engineers whose specialty is taking the Android code provided by Google and altering it extensively to match their needs. While that is not essentially a bad thing, it is the way in which they have been doing it that has irked many users. We have been consistent in pointing out how irritating this is most of the time as it stands in the way of a complete Android experience that a few users would desire. While the reason often cited for the custom skins’ existence is mainly improving the user experience, many a times that aim is lost as they overdo it.
In China, a consumer rights lobby group, the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission, has gone to court to seek legal redress on the matter. This is reportedly after receiving complaints from users of Samsung and OPPO smartphones.
The lawsuit is interesting because it comes several months after Samsung unveiled its latest flagship smartphones that were meant to herald a new era in the company’s approach to the customization it does to Android. Samsung promised to only pre-install the very necessary applications. Like Microsoft’s. That may be trimming by Samsung standards today but it definitely wasn’t the case two years ago when it introduced the Galaxy Note 3 into the Chinese market. As per the suit filed before the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, the Chinese model of the Galaxy Note 3 (model number SM-N9008S) has at least 44 pre-installed applications. To make things worse, they are all classified as system applications hence users cannot easily uninstall them. The same is the case with OPPO whose 2014 flagship, the Find 7a (model number X9007), has a whopping 71 applications pre-installed. 71!
Not only are pre-installed applications irritating most of the time, they take up a lot of space that could really be put to good use. Then there’s the very critical Android updates debacle. Android OEMs are known to delay releasing Android updates as they figure out how to skin. That users have to go the extra mile to root in order to be able to get rid of applications they would otherwise never need makes things more complicated. Very few users ever bother to tinker with their devices that away let alone even know what rooting is. The suit seeks to have the two companies compelled to clearly indicate on the packaging the number of pre-installed applications on a device and clear instructions on how to get rid of them if a user chooses to. We hope this lawsuit teaches the rest of the Android OEMs how to behave when it comes to things as critical as the software. Or better yet, concentrate on making the best hardware and letting Google handle the software.
Source: Shanghai Daily