Caving in to pressure, or perhaps the threat of a government lawsuit in China,Samsung has revealed that it will be issuing patches that will finally let users uninstall non-essential pre-installed apps, a.k.a. bloatware from their smartphones. This is definitely an unprecedented move for the OEM, one of the worst offenders when it comes to packaging 3rd party services and apps on their devices. Sadly, it’s a development that, at least for now, is localized only in China and doesn’t seem to have any effect on Samsung’s other markets.
Early this month, the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission filed a complaint against Samsung and OPPO for their practice of preloading apps in devices. While that is not exactly a new practice, the situation was exacerbated by the fact that most of these apps cannot be uninstalled as they are baked into the device’s firmware. Bloatware has the tendency to eat up precious storage space on devices and may even be the vehicle of security exploits.
Responding to the complaint, Samsung announced that it will be issuing a patch next month that will allow users to uninstall unwanted apps that were previously pre-installed. There seems to be a subtle catch. Samsung says that users can download the patches from the company’s after-sales centers. Why the patch can’t be delivered over the air like any update is still a mystery. It also means that users will have to take extra steps, almost literally, just to get those apps out of their way.
The Commission, however, isn’t letting Samsung off the hook yet just because it made a promise. It will wait to see if Samsung will be able to follow through. If not, the Korean OEM can definitely expect a lawsuit.
Sadly, it doesn’t seem that this patch will in any way be provided to markets outside of China, especially considering the requirement to get it in after-sales centers. The success story, however, could probably be used as inspiration by other consumer rights agencies to follow suit.