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Submission + - Is mobile phone bloatware literally criminal?

pecosdave writes: I have an HTC EVO, tech specs wise it is an incredible phone, the problem is, it has horrible battery life.

This is not HTC's fault (not solely anyways).

Remember how Windows home computers from big manufacturers came almost unusable due to craplets? Sprint has successfully introduced the craplet to a Linux based OS, and though my experience is limited to Sprint they probably aren't the only guilty ones. I personally have an EVO and Sprint, but I realize this is not isolated to just them, but I did write this with my own perspective in mind. Feel free to share your own in reply.

Now that the brief introduction is aside, it's time to get to the geeky core.

The real problem with the EVO in particular is simply Tying. I started researching the history of the tying issue and found out mobile phone makers could be in the same boat as Microsoft was in with IE. These crap software items the user's don't necessarily want, report back to servers regularly, and don't even provide useful services drain the battery in such a manner the inclusion of these programs at minimum should count as a civil liability against the phone provider. Why do providers feel the need to install this much spyware? If they were to install a single snooper app that keeps track of where I'm at at all times and then resell the data instead of installing four of five of their own plus letting Amazon put one on it would preserve the battery life. Sure it's a low life thing to do, but at least only one application doing it would use less battery life than half a dozen doing it separately.

On to the hacking, this is why I blame Sprint, not HTC or Google in my own case.

I jail broke mine for the single purpose of removing bloatware. This was NOT good enough. Turns out simple jail breaking doesn't work, the section of onboard memory that contains this crap ware is locked hard-core (I blame HTC for this) so not even simple rooting allows you to get rid of the crap from here. I wound up installing a really old version of Android plus a couple of other hacks to get rid of the garbage, I'm sure there's easier ways to do it than what I did, but Froyo 2.2 came on mine and they had just recently started packaging Froyo on this model when I got it so online how-to's were sparse at best. Afterward I re-upgraded to 2.2.


My phone that used to barely make it 8 hours stock with all the extra radio's etc turned off could immediately make it to 24 hours, some more uninstalls and OS tweaks I'm up to about three or so days of standby. I can't really test this, 24 hours is about the best I can do when it comes to leaving the thing unplugged and not messing with it. I've told the people at the phone store I could get at least 32 hours of standby, when I tell them I'm using the factory battery they refuse to believe me. All they've done is recommend I use ATK under their breath. I've proven setting the thing up properly is better than that.

Providers should be required to report what every one of these protected area programs gathers and reports about the users. Especially things like Amazon MP3 which don't even originate from the provider. It would be bad enough just installing the craplets. Installing craplets that a user can't uninstall without hacking is worse. Installing craplets that you can't even get out with simple rooting is akin to criminal.

My question to other SlashDotters — do mobile phone craplets fall into the same category of bundling as IE and Windows 95 and the famous lawsuit? Even with the legalese and the disclosures given in the pages of agreement they give you with the phone is this data gathering legal? Can the battery waste done by the applications constitute another form of legal misrepresentation outside of the initial ethical and privacy concerns? Has Google, HTC, or any of the other manufacturers weighed in on this? I've personally turned my barely portable due to short battery life machine into a long running mobile powerhouse, Google and the manufacturers are bound to be concerned about these apps making their hardware and OS look bad.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.