The KEYone is available as an unlocked phone, and that's probably how most BlackBerry fans will buy it. However, there's a Sprint version, too. Owners of the Sprint version recently reported an aggravating battle with bloatware, which was constantly reinstalling itself on the phone. Sprint has now confirmed this is a bug, and it'll be fixed soon. Read More
Carrier bloatware is always annoying, but Sprint just upped the ante. Sprint is currently the only US carrier selling the KEYone, the latest BlackBerry-branded device manufactured by TCL. Owners of the Sprint KEYone are reporting a huge amount of apps being automatically installed, and they can't be disabled or removed. Read More
Verizon is known for bundling large amounts of pre-installed applications with little value, hence the term 'bloatware.' Unfortunately, it seems like the Verizon-sold Google Pixel phones are no exception.
According to a page on Verizon's website, the Pixel includes eight "Preloaded Play Store Apps," besides the usual Google-made apps bundled with most Android devices. The included apps from Verizon are My Verizon, Go90, and VZ Messages. There are other Google apps pre-loaded outside of the usual bundle as well, including Allo, Duo, Android Pay, Docs, and Keep. Read More
It's 2016. Android is pretty great. We have access to software and hardware that were just pipe dreams a few years ago, and the mild whining that we as a community like to engage in is just that: mild. But bloated, unnecessary software from manufacturers and carriers, which restricts customer choice, adds to update delays, and sometimes even opens up vulnerabilities, remains a thorn in the side of the platform as a whole. How often have we seen otherwise interesting hardware brought down because someone thought it would be a good idea to pay for unverified mobile games with sandwiches? Read More
ES File Explorer has been on Android since time immemorial, but it has been getting a little bloated since being acquired a while back. The most recent update might be the last straw for many users. ES File Explorer is now offering to speed up charging by a whopping 20%. Wow, what a deal! It's complete bunk, of course. All you really get are ads on your lock screen. Read More
Cheetah Mobile, perhaps the least respected large-scale developer of mobile apps, is partnering with the truly world-class computer science and engineering programs at Carnegie Mellon University to show them how the pros shove ads into everything. Yep, this is not a drill, Cheetah Mobile is in fact teaching a course in mobile advertising at CMU's Silicon Valley campus to students paying over $40,000 per year in tuition to get graduate degrees in software development and related fields.
In the press announcement, Cheetah Mobile describes itself as "the leading developer of mission-critical mobile utility and security applications," which stretches the definition of more of those words than it would be worth listing. Read More
I'm pretty sure something was lost in translation between the different reviews of ASUS' more recent generations of phones and the company's software development team. Everyone has lamented the high customization of ZenUI, the software layer that ASUS has slapped on top of Android, and its endless list of pre-installed and useless apps. On our own team, different writers unanimously pointed to the software as the major drawback for the Zenfone 2, Zenfone 2E, Zenpad S 8.0, Zenfone Selfie, and Zenfone 2 Laser. So what's ASUS to do to fix that?
Add more bloat. For realsies. That's what's happening with the latest update to the Zenfone Selfie, as if the phone wasn't full of preloaded crapware already. Read More
Since Google still only reveals a tiny portion of the file system to Android end users, most intermediate and "power" users have a go-to file manager that they use on a regular basis. ES File Explorer was, at least until recently, one of the most popular options on the Play Store - it offers a simple interface, a robust set of tools, and it's been available for years. But recent changes have made long-time fans of the app wary; now ES File Explorer includes a built-in web browser, "junk cleaner" notifications, and "recommended apps" (read: advertisements), among other bells and whistles that no one really asked for in a file manager. Read More
From its announcement at Google I/O to today, we keep uncovering new information and subtle details regarding the new permission system in Android 6.0. What we weren't able to know, however, was how OEMs were going to treat (or be forced to treat) this new feature. Would they be able to remove it completely? Circumvent it for their own apps? Could they abuse it to grant permissions to bloatware? Well, we now have our answers thanks to the updated Marshmallow Compatibility Definition Document.
In it, Google explains that apps that target API level 23 will have to request permissions to access certain protected features. Read More