Too little, too late: Samsung, starting with the latest released Galaxy S6 series, moved to its mobile devices' user interfaces by scaling back bloatware, but now the manufacturer and its pre-installation practices are the subject of a legal action launched by a consumer protection group in China.
Bloatware, also known as PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs), typically arrives pre-installed on hardware and is often difficult to remove.
The Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission filed public interest lawsuit against Samsung and Oppo, accusing both companies, in separate cases, of preinstalling PUP. The commission studied 20 smartphones and concluded that many of the apps on the devices couldn't be removed.
Among the subject mobile devices, the commission found that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 had 44 preinstalled apps and the Oppo Find 7a X9007 smartphone had 71 PUPs, according to the Commission's findings.
The consumer watchdog group attempted other measures to address its issue with Samsung and Oppo, said Tao Ailian, executive deputy secretary general of the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission.
"We hope it will force other companies in the sector to end the unreasonable, but common, practice of pre-installing apps without telling consumers," said Ailian. "This is something that is very much necessary for the healthy development of the whole industry."
At least part of the reason Samsung uses bloatware is set itself apart from other hardware manufacturers who employ Google's Android. But most people don't care for space hogging, unnecessary apps. Samsung indicated at the beginning of this year that it planned to scale down its pre-installed app.
Business Korea quoted an industry source as saying: "We are aiming to get rid of unnecessary functions and simplify our [user interface] at the level of Google's Nexus 6."
Google's Nexus devices run vanilla versions of Android. It was a bold statement to assert that Samsung has scale back its use of PUPs down to the level of unadulterated Android.
While Samsung has tidied up the TouchWiz user interface, the PUPs haven't been eradicated and now the company has to answer for it.