At long last, action is being taken against bloatware on Android devices. Samsung and Oppo are facing lawsuits over their use of pre-installed apps. Both companies are being sued by the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission, as revealed in a report by the Shanghai Daily. In a study of 20 phones, multiple devices were found to have apps which were not only pre-installed but also unremovable.
This suit comes after receiving many complaints from the public about unwanted apps. These apps include programs like online shopping programs, electronic dictionaries and various other games.
One of Samsung’s biggest offenders was the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9008S which came loaded with 44 apps installed out-of-box. These apps don’t just take up precious storage space, but also use customer’s data allowances when upgrading. The same is true of the Oppo phones. One of which — the Find 7a X9007 — had a whopping 71 pre-installed programs.
The Commission’s secretary-general, Tao Ailian stated the lawsuit was filed in order to “safeguard consumers’ rights after other methods failed.”
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.
These are the first cases of their kind to be accepted by the by a Shanhai court and, if successful, would force manufacturers to make it easier to delete unwanted apps. It will also force them to make it clear on the device packaging what apps come with the phone. Samsung and Oppo have 15 days from the acceptance date to respond.
“We have not yet received the formal complaint filed by the Shanghai Consumer Council. We will thoroughly review the court document and determine an appropriate response,” Samsung stated.
If successful, the lawsuit could finally signal the beginning of the end of excessive bloatware. Companies like Samsung, Oppo and other Android OEMs would have to be far more selective about how much pre-installed content is on their phones. What’s more, they’d be forced to make the uninstall-able. Personally, I’d like to the end of third party skins on Android phones, but bloatware is definitely a good place to start.