Preinstalled Apps

Samsung’s newest flagship phone, the Galaxy S7, has received generally favorable reviews. One caveat seems to be that, like many other phones, the Galaxy comes preloaded with a frustrating number of preinstalled apps. The New York Times has an article succinctly titled “Samsung’s Smartphones Aren’t the Problem (Just Prune the Bad Apps).” In this piece, the Brian X. Chen recommends trashing many of the preloaded apps in favor of Google’s more streamlined alternatives:

To get the most out of these fancy phones, consider disabling most of the included software…Apart from apps included by carriers on the Galaxy phones, Samsung also loads some of its custom-made software, like its calendar, voice assistant and email app, on the devices. It also includes some software from partners like Amazon and Google. (Believe it or not, the Verizon version of the S7 includes four music apps, one each from Samsung, Google, Verizon and Amazon.)

When I first read the article, I scoffed at the silliness of the fact that these phones come with a plethora of silly and useless apps. And then I thought of my iPhone, and my folder labeled Apple Crap, and the fact that I’m saddled with a bunch of unnecessary apps. As I’ve written:

Why does Watch take up precious megabytes on my phone when I don’t even own an Apple Watch? I’ve only ever opened Mail to send an attachment; otherwise, I’m firmly in Outlook-land. I do hope that Apple will address these issues in coming iOS updates. Great hardware deserves great software. And no one deserves the Tips app.

And in that sense, perhaps, Android phones have a leg up on iOS devices because you can, in some cases, delete those included apps. But the industry more broadly — hardware and software makers, and cell carriers — will ultimately need to be more flexible in terms of what they include, and what one can remove, from their device.

This post originally appeared on Silicon Spatula, where I write about tech, business and food, and the delicious times they coincide.

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