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Sprint Pushes FPS NOVA With Firmware — and Users Can't Remove It

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-you-love-it dept.

Android 182

theodp writes "If you could change the way wireless companies did things, what would you do?' asked Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. How about stopping the use of Sprint's firmware updates to download apps that aren't wanted and can't be removed, Dan? Sprint confirmed to CNET's Elinor Mills that those strange apps she was shocked to find on her Android phone — sci-fi shooter N.O.V.A. and Blockbuster — with a long list of permissions that couldn't be uninstalled had been sneakily downloaded onto her phone during a firmware update. 'Sprint does offer a variety of partner applications that are optimized for use on our wireless phones,' a Sprint representative explained in an e-mail. 'From time to time, we will provide new apps to our customers in conjunction with a software maintenance release. Also, Sprint, in conjunction with Google, is taking steps to develop a technical solution that would allow customers to remove any unwanted applications that have been preloaded or pushed in an over-the-air software update.'" Asking first would be a nice non-technical solution.

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182 comments

Technical solution? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273532)

Shouldn't the OS already allow users to uninstall programs? What exactly needs to be developed?

What needs to be developed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36273646)

The corporate double-speak.

Re:Technical solution? (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274090)

The mechanism where you pay Sprint $5.00 per preinstalled app for it to be able to be uninstalled.

Re:Technical solution? (1)

keith_nt4 (612247) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274160)

No one has yet asked i think...is NOVA at least a good FPS?

Re:Technical solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274278)

No. I've had an HTC Evo 4g for a little over a week now and it is not a good FPS. A modern FPS with a true Z-axis is not going to play well on a touchscreen and Nova certainly does have one. Ridiculous auto aim is necessary and the difficulty stems entirely from the awkward controls.

Not only did my phone have these apps pre-installed but several of these permanently embedded Sprint apps automatically run themselves in the background and re-start when you kill the process - just like malware. These apps occupy available ram and eat my battery life. I've considered calling Sprint just to demand a solution but I doubt it would do any good.

Re:Technical solution? (1)

kcitren (72383) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274402)

Root it and remove the apps, or run an alternate firmware. Keep a copy of the original if you ever need it serviced. I like Fresh EVO, but I'm having trouble with the 4G radio. I don't have good 4G coverage in my area so I don't mind and haven't taken the time to really trouble shoot it.

Re:Technical solution? (1)

kcitren (72383) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274412)

Above statement doesn't mean that I agree with Sprint's policies, but it does offer a workaround. HTC makes it really easy to root, almost encouraged even.

Re:Technical solution? (1)

cela0811 (1901860) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274432)

NOVA is pretty fun on the iPhone. I'm not sure about on Android, but I assume it is similar. It takes up 257 megabytes of space(again, this is for the iPhone version), and people who aren't interested in FPS's might be upset about this waste of space, no matter how fun the game is.

Re:Technical solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274228)

OTAs install unnecessary apps to /system, making them irremovable without rooting (because the partition is read-only). It also allows those apps to run as the system or root user.

Re:Technical solution? (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274244)

Unfortunately they bundle things that are not part of the OS into the firmware and they cannot be removed, but they can be upgraded. I'd love to remove monopoly from my phone as well as the other games I never use and screen share and a few other apps on the phone that are part of the firmware.

Re:Technical solution? (2)

LVWolfman (301977) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275100)

Shouldn't the OS already allow users to uninstall programs? What exactly needs to be developed?

Yes, an OS SHOULD allow that. However, neither Android nor IOS allow end users to uninstall "system" applications.

However, if you root or jailbreak (respectively), then the end user IS able to remove those apps. On IOS devices, this also saves you room. On Android it doesn't since those unwanted apps are stored in the firmware. On the plus side, they don't take up valuable user app storage space on Android.

I've removed the unwanted apps on my HTC EVO, not to free up room, but because I didn't care to see them in my list of apps. For instance, it came with QuickOffice. That was nice of them. But I bought QuickOffice Pro and after installation had two QuickOffice icons leading to the two different versions. So the vendor installed version went away.

I doubt that any "reasonable" person would consider anything that I do on my rooted EVO to be illegal. I removed unwanted vendor supplied apps and can now back up my ENTIRE phone including all user settings and data. I don't run pirated software and don't care to try out any custom kernals or even user interfaces from newer phones.

Re:Technical solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36275338)

On IOS devices, this also saves you room. On Android it doesn't since those unwanted apps are stored in the firmware.

Not sure what this is supposed to mean - removing system apps on my Droid X definitely frees up space. Maybe you meant the other way around?

Just so I understand the problem (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273540)

Sprint has to develop something that allows them to unbundle something that they bundled first of all?

Are they hiring? I'd like to be the project manager for this, I'll only need a few thousand bucks as budget and, say, 3-4 weeks. That should do as vacation money and time...

Re:Just so I understand the problem (4, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273726)

Actually, I think they'd rather develop something that bundles the firmware updater into the game so you can't apply security patches until you beat level 2.

Root and Flash, Root and Flash. (3, Insightful)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273564)

And some people still wonder why many phone owners want to root their phone or flash a custom ROM?

I can uninstall or install anything on my G2. Sprint is acting like Sony.

Bad, Sprint! Bad!

cell phone market has been like this for along tim (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273850)

With all the locking and lock down of phone. AT&T, Verizon and others has locked there phones for a long time with built in apps, lock in ringtone, app, wallpaper and game stores some even locked down USB so you had to use the mobile web to load apps and ringtones. Verizon for a long time locked there GUI on there phones. The only way to get a phone with out all this crap is to buy a unlocked one and not from the carrier store or buy a windows 7 phone that MS has some control to over the carriers

Re:Root and Flash, Root and Flash. (2)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274484)

They didn't install an app which spies on you and sends all your entertainment preferences to Sprint.com

They didn't make asinine statements to you about how their major screwups are "little hiccups".

They didn't sue you for rooting your phone, and claim you fled the country when you went on vacation.

They didn't lose millions of customer credit card numbers to hackers.

They have a looong way to go to catch Sony. But it's a step in the wrong direction.

Re:Root and Flash, Root and Flash. (1)

Lulu of the Lotus-Ea (3441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274842)

And some people still wonder why many phone owners want to root their phone or flash a custom ROM?

I can uninstall or install anything on my G2. Sprint is acting like Sony.

Bad, Sprint! Bad!

@TrentTheTheif: Do you mean that you can uninstall everything because you've already rooted? On my T-Mobile G2--while generally an excellent phone--I am stuck with several irritating and stupid unremovable apps that T-Mobile stuck on there. I probably should get around to rooting to get rid of them, but I certainly can't do so in stock configuration.

Asking first is not a non-technical solution (4, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273566)

You have to build the technology to ask during installation of a patch, which is generally supposed to be an invisible process. That's the opposite of a non-technical solution.

This is old news... (1)

KennyG944 (682920) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273568)

The update along with the unwanted apps came down to my phone months ago. Root the phone and uninstall any app you don't want.

Dan Hess thinks you're am idiot (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273598)

I've never seen a wireless commercial in this country as condescending as his. They don't think you can be trusted to tie your own shoes, much less make decisions about your phone.

Re:Dan Hess thinks you're am idiot (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274176)

They don't think you can be trusted to tie your own shoes

Well they do own Nascar...

News flash... (1)

hob42 (41735) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273622)

...firmware updates update firmware!

Do they "ask" about pre-installing crapware when you first buy the phone? This was an ota firmware update, and they changed some of the pre-loaded apps. I'm much happier about the carriers providing ota updates and working on a solution to let end users "remove" pre-loaded junk from their phones.

Re:News flash... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36273796)

This is auto-shovelware. Try to keep up.

This is a problem. (5, Interesting)

itchythebear (2198688) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273632)

I am a sprint customer, N.O.V.A. is hardly the biggest problem. My main complaint was the stupid sprint sports apps that like to run in the background. I don't like NASCAR, football, or any other of the sports they included apps for that are uninstallable and automatically run in the background. Funny enough, it seemed like the only sport they didn't have an app for was the NHL (something i would have used). The only reason I rooted my phone was do delete all of those apps, and wouldn't you know... I get twice the battery life.

Re:This is a problem. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36273788)

I am a Sprint customer by default since my company uses Sprint and I have to carry a company cell phone.. I have an Evo - which would be an awesome phone if it had halfway decent battery life. However, the battery life is shit so the phone sucks, imo. But.. the battery is constantly being used by these automatically-updating crapware applications.. Installing crapware on my device without my permission is one thing.. Installing crapware on my device that uses battery life that I cannot uninstall is total shit.

There's more to all this, though.. For one, we have zero real competition between cell phone companies in terms of service. Agreements are created to be 100% anti-consumer and since all cell phone companies in the US have similar agreements, we are stuck with it. My company moved from Alltel to Sprint after Verizon bought Alltel to get away from the evil shit Verizon tried to impose on us. Now you have AT&T buying Tmobile..

So to make a valid point, CEOs of cell phone companies are terrorists.

Re:This is a problem. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273846)

Installing crapware on my device without my permission is one thing.. Installing crapware on my device that uses battery life that I cannot uninstall is total shit.

Just installing crapware uses battery life because it has to operate the radio out of standby for the long download.

There is a line where capitalism isn't beneficial for all involved. It looks like Sprint and Verizon stepped over that. With all of three wireless carriers now, I see a less pleasant future in telecom.

Competition should not BE between carriers (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274152)

All carriers would do this if given the chance. That is why it's so important to have cell phone MAKERS that are unwilling to put up with this crap.

Apple of course is the first that comes to mind, no crapware at all.

But there's another cell phone maker that does not support this either, I believe Windows Phone 7 also dictates what goes onto the phone, not the carrier.

This is exactly the kind of thing we should be encouraging, independence from cell phone companies. Desiring openness of the platform over this is selfish because while YOU can work around carrier specifics, the vast majority of people cannot and it's not fair nor desirable to have a world where only the technically educated can function well.

Ideally we'd have the best of both worlds, open platforms and no ability for the carriers to dictate what goes on the phones they support. But that is not currently possible.

Re:Competition should not BE between carriers (2)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274558)

This is exactly the kind of thing we should be encouraging, independence from cell phone companies. Desiring openness of the platform over this is selfish

Erm... WTF? Openness of the platform, particularly of the individual device, gives the consume independence from the cell phone company. I'd definitely prioritize that over giving the manufacturer independence from the cell phone company, leaving the consumer entirely dependent on the manufacturer. I don't see that really being an improvement other than the fact that, for the moment, the cell phone companies are being the most evil.

while YOU can work around carrier specifics, the vast majority of people cannot and it's not fair nor desirable to have a world where only the technically educated can function well.

If you aren't "technically educated", how are you using that phone in the first place? It's a technical device.

It also doesn't really take much. Teach them to ask for an unlocked bootloader. There are then very nearly one-click methods for rooting and/or flashing the phone.

Furthermore, suggesting that we should all go to a platform which is entirely controlled by the manufacturer seems equally selfish, biased towards those who don't want to do anything particularly imaginative with the device, or to those manufacturers themselves.

Ideally we'd have the best of both worlds, open platforms and no ability for the carriers to dictate what goes on the phones they support. But that is not currently possible.

No more so than closed platforms would in that situation -- the carriers can, for example, reject iOS entirely. They can and have put pressure on the manufacturers to reject certain kinds of apps. The only difference is that with an open platform, the pressure mostly has to come from the consumers, but that (surprisingly!) seems to be working.

If the phone actually does have an unlocked bootloader, there's not much the carriers can do about it. In that case, installing additional crap is just that much more incentive for, say, giving some teenager $20 to flash it with cyanogen such that the carrier now has no control and the customer has twice the battery life.

Re:Competition should not BE between carriers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274784)

That's not true. i-devices come preloaded with Nike+ support that you can't remove. What about the sound recorder that stops music (even though you might want to record that bit?) Just because it comes from one company, they hide it well, or is useful to you doesn't mean it's not - as it's called - shovelware.

Re:Competition should not BE between carriers (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275022)

not fair nor desirable to have a world where only the technically educated can function well

That is fair, they are a bunch of lazy idiot. They should pay the price of there ignorance. Car analogy time :

I use to be totally clueless about cars. The mechanic would sense it, pretty much like the sharks smells the blood, and I would get screwed. Since then I have learn about car maintenance. I can change my light bulb, my spark plug and my oxygen sensor, I don't do anything hydraulic related: it is too messy. Now when I go to the garage I do not sound like an ignorant fool and if they try to screw me I can know it and go to another garage. And I feel that before I learn about car maintenance I was deserving to be screwed since my ignorance made the price asked worth it

Now is this desirable ? Frankly I don't know and I don't care. May I pay the price of my ignorance later

__
Jony Suede is high as fuck

Simple solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36275242)

As an alternative, you could buy a "stupid phone" that has no functionality beyond calls, texting, and a contact list.

Then...for all your other needs...you could buy a pocket PC, an IPOD Touch, or similar.

Oh...the horror of two devices. TWO whole pocket-sized devices. Man...too bad the clothes I wear only have one pocket.

Oh, wait....

Re:This is a problem. (1)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274298)

For one, we have zero real competition between cell phone companies in terms of service. Agreements are created to be 100% anti-consumer and since all cell phone companies in the US have similar agreements, we are stuck with it.

I used to think the same thing. Then I discovered Virgin Mobile and the joys of prepaid service.

Re:This is a problem. (2)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275346)

That's a bit of an exaggeration, right? I mean, terrorists directly impact fewer people than the orders from these CEOs....

Re:This is a problem. (1)

twentynine (984768) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273820)

Agreed. These apps unnecessarily eat up battery life. I find no reason they can't be uninstalled. I also find the stocks app annoying because it restarts itself a lot and chews through battery like no other. Come on, Sprint, stop loading crap onto phones that cannot be removed.

Re:This is a problem. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36273926)

The reason you can'y uninstall them is sprint gets paid for each install ... pretty obvious id say.

Re:This is a problem. (1)

Psyko (69453) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273902)

Here here! On my first android phone with them I saw that they had bundled some crappy NFL sports app, nascar bs, as well as Sprint TV and a couple others. They autostart at boot, were difficult to remove. They were the reason one of the first android apps I went looking for was a task manager to kill them with.

Just upgraded my phone last weekend, those are still bundled, although I haven't done an update yet and gotten hit with blockbuster (seriously? just f'in die already, your customers hate you and nobody cares... It's because of them I've been using netflix since '99) & their nova shooter. Now I have to keep an eye out and reject firmware until their new 'removal tool' is released.

Re:This is a problem. (3, Insightful)

hoytak (1148181) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274002)

I've got a samsung epic with sprint, and really like it. Two things, though:

1. Install Advanced Task Killer app. it periodically kills things like this when they run in the back ground. Usually, they don't restart once they are killed. After first booting the phone up, it usually kills 16-18 or so of these crapware apps. Most don't run again.

2. If you root your phone (your call), you can uninstall all these apps. In fact, there are programs to do that.

Re:This is a problem. (1)

nateand (1487549) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274468)

Careful with that. In some cases an app that is restarting itself in the background and getting killed regularly uses more power with the stopping and restarting than it does just letting it sit and do nothing. I know with my droid incredible (verizon punishes their users, too) that there are a few apps I had to learn to add to the ignore list in taskiller. However, once I rooted my phone I removed the crap and fixed the problem.

Re:This is a problem. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275130)

You saved my opinion of Andriod with your post.

I was wondering why my Samsung Galaxy only had 5 hours of battery life. It was terrible. I used the built in task program and could extend the battery life to 6 hours as long as I didn't use it.

I used Advanced Task Killer and was shocked my phone had 12 apps like youtube, messenger, news, and even Google Maps all sucking data. I find it rotten like a rootkit almost (not quite) that the task ender that came with my phone was intentionally crippled. That is slimy to say the least. Now I know why my phone's battery life is so mediocre compared to an I-phone. Still why should I of had to do download and do that?

Maybe an Iphone is not so bad after all even with the DRM craziness in it (why I use Andriod).

Re:This is a problem. (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274336)

I don't like NASCAR, football, or any other of the sports they included apps for that are uninstallable and automatically run in the background.

Hum. I have the NASCAR and football apps on my Galaxy. I haven't tried to uninstall them, but they don't run in the background automatically unless the Running Apps utility is lying to me...

Re:This is a problem. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275170)

"I haven't tried to uninstall them, but they don't run in the background automatically unless the Running Apps utility is lying to me...

My Samsung Galaxy S was lying to me. Without that Advanced Task Killer App I had no idea these apps were even running in the background. Do not trust the task killer that came with your phone. I use AT&T and not Sprint, but still these apps like their news and map programs puts battery life 5 hours which is is unacceptable to me. I took the grandparents advice and will see how long my battery lasts.

It bugs me as it makes clueless users think more highly of the DRM walled garden of Iphone which does not have such garbage. But still

Re:This is a problem. (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274410)

Those apps aren't running in the background shouldn't be eating up battery. Android preloads many apps into memory for faster launching, but they are not using CPU cycles. If you deleted those apps, Android will choose other apps to preload instead.

The only way these apps should affect performance is that it prevents more relevant apps to be preloaded into memory on startup. Once you start using other apps, Android will delete the crapware out of memory to make room.

If rooting your phone causes an increase in battery life, it is likely caused by something else.

Sony Ericsson does the same thing (2, Interesting)

KreAture (105311) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273640)

On my X10-mini I continously get "Roller Rev 99" and "Edge" two games I neither don't want or like.
They can be removed from apps menu but every refresh or minor update reinstalls them.
They are ofcource both trial versions and if you clean out their datastore to get rid of em, your trial licence is gone too, so all you can do is watch the horrible dialogs telling you to purchase fullversion and lock up before allowing you to exit again. The word crapware comes to mind...

You have to be pretty corrupt and greedy as a manufacturer/vendor to bundle this crap.

Re:Sony Ericsson does the same thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36273718)

Huh? "two games I neither don't want or like".

Please, not on a Saturday when I'm watching cartoons with a full mouth of cheerios.

Re:Sony Ericsson does the same thing (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273724)

You can't just create a nearly identical APK, and make it so that Android asks if you really want to install that?

Re:Sony Ericsson does the same thing (1)

KreAture (105311) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273766)

It seems to be in the image.
They even reappear from the nightly/weekly software checks.

Oh and I am ashamed of "neither don't want or like". I'll admit to that before anyone points it out.
I should have said "neither want nor like".

Re:Sony Ericsson does the same thing (2)

Sentry23 (447266) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274276)

I doubt that's SE's doing, since my wife has the same phone without those apps pre-installed in her firmware updates.
A lot of carriers are bundling crapware with mobiles. Sprint is not the only one.
It not only causes issues with the phone sometimes, but also delays firmware updates due to 'carrier customisations'
(Hi Vodafone! Hope you're reading this as well, you @@$**!^ )

Just pick a phone that allows bootloader unlocking and become owner of your phone again.

Re:Sony Ericsson does the same thing (1)

PNutts (199112) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275094)

if you clean out their datastore to get rid of em, ... lock up before allowing you to exit...

Do you think the two are related?

You have to be pretty corrupt and greedy as a manufacturer/vendor to bundle this crap.

Are you willing to pay more for the phone and have them left off? If no, that makes you greedy.

Natural outcome (5, Insightful)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273656)

This is what you get when the gadgets are given away or subsidized. Abuse will ensue to make sure the provider recovers their costs.
On PCs, at least the shovelware is generally removable, and you have the option to buy a nonsubsidized gadget that doesn't have crap installed. In the US phone market, usually the gadget and service are provided by the same party and the abuse includes locking down the OS.

who's phone is it? (5, Interesting)

guygo (894298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273680)

This kind of junk will continue until the carriers realize the phone belongs to the customer, not them.

Re:who's phone is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36273750)

It doesn't when you get it as part of a deal and when you sign the contract, its likely there is language in it allowing for this.

Course, everyone reads contracts in full before they sign right?

*quick scribble* give me my phone!

Re:who's phone is it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36273964)

No - this kind of junk will continue as long as users "buy" phones that are not actually theirs.

Buy electronics that you own and control, and this crap can't happen.

Buy electronics that someone else controls, and this is 100% predictable, so don't act surprised.

Re:who's phone is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36275152)

This kind of junk will continue until the carriers realize the phone belongs to the customer, not them.

It may be your phone (subject to debate) but the services it provides are not.

I bought a blu-ray because my DVD player broke. It contains apps I don't use and can't remove. I can unplug it from the Internet (and not use Netflix anymore), but DVDs have ads I can't skip. Welcome to progress.

Re:who's phone is it? (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275156)

"This kind of abuse will continue until the customers realize that the phone belongs to the customer, not the phone company."

TFTFY.

Disk space (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273682)

What happens if there's not enough disk space left for the game? Or is it being installed in a dedicated system partition?

Re:Disk space (1)

Jeslijar (1412729) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273742)

What happens if there's not enough disk space left for the game? Or is it being installed in a dedicated system partition?

I'm going to go ahead and assume that since this is bundled with a system update that unless there was disk space available for both the update and the game(s) and bloatware that it just wouldn't update the phone. I'll assume again that this would all be put on internal phone storage as well so that a user couldn't just delete it off the SD card storage.

Still, rooting the phone would allow you to eliminate it and give sprint that much less control :)

Re:Disk space (1)

Joshua Fan (1733100) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273752)

I would think it's being installed into memory reserved for the OS which is why it can't removed on an unrooted phone. On the plus side, you're not losing space for user apps, besides the SD card space for textures and stuff.

Need Root NOW! (2)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273708)

And this is why you should get a phone that can be rooted and have a custom ROM on it, no wireless carrier is going to be able to install their shitty software OTA just to make a buck.

Just to not throw away this account (-1, Offtopic)

asssssssssshole (2206362) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273744)

I crap on all slashdotters, and they eat my cum.
You are all cunts, and dick-like pieces of shit

romaing and sms fees? (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273780)

So who is at fault if a forced app get loaded runs in the background and runes up your txt or data bill. Just wait for some roaming in canada to get a forced Over the air update with a app that runs in the back round at $2.05/MB it does not take alot to run up the bill.

Re:romaing and sms fees? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273844)

Isn't it obvious? The end user has to demonstrate that it's the carriers fault. Sort of like in the past when carriers wouldn't allow you to disable data features on your end. If you wanted to do that you had to have them do it. And same for text messaging, so that they could get a piece of the action whenever somebody sent an unsolicited text to you. Knowing full well that few people would waste their time appealing a 10 cent charge.

Pretty amazing. (2, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273822)

It's pretty astounding that these companies can whine about data usage of their paying customers, and then not bat an eye and upload who knows how many gigabytes of useless games/apps to people who don't even want the crap.

Re:Pretty amazing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36275362)

Someone paid them for it. They like money... Why is this astounding? People can be bribed. People run companies...

seems fine? (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273856)

Seems fine to me that they want to give us some free apps. Likely someone paid a lot of money to get that in front of your eyes. All Kosher with me. Whatever. But please don't prevent me from removing it or I'll root my phone you fuckers.

New 4- and 5-Year-Old FPS Fans Give Thumbs-Up (2)

theodp (442580) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273860)

"Unbeknownst to me, my 5-year-old found N.O.V.A. on my phone and was shooting the guns and weaponry and killing enemies in the N.O.V.A. game," someone wrote on an HTC customer forum [htc.com]. "Thanks a lot HTC and Sprint for forcing violence on my 5-year-old! I am protective of my kids and would never install a game like this on my phone, but now you forced this app onto my phone and I can't uninstall it! I'm very frustrated and VERY ANGRY!"

Re:New 4- and 5-Year-Old FPS Fans Give Thumbs-Up (3, Insightful)

merky1 (83978) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274050)

You handed you child your phone, unattended I'm assuming since it seems the child was killing and slaying long enough to learn the controls to the game. Imagine what you child could have been exposed to if they clicked on the evil internet icon...

Re:New 4- and 5-Year-Old FPS Fans Give Thumbs-Up (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275456)

You handed you child your phone, unattended I'm assuming since it seems the child was killing and slaying long enough to learn the controls to the game. Imagine what you child could have been exposed to if they clicked on the evil internet icon...

Don't try to put the blame on the parent!! It's the government who should be watching the children!!!!

Indictment language (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#36273872)

What's needed is an indictment with language like this: "vendor knowingly and with intent to defraud remotely accessed customer's telephone without the explicit permission of customer and installed programs which accessed vendor's network, accumulating charges which accrued to vendor and were charged to customer."

Re:Indictment language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36273992)

This sports app runs in the background and has been given 3G access by default, right? So reimbursement of charges may be in order. For fraud, however, you need to prove intent. Also, fraud is a criminal charge. Good luck finding a DA that will push against Sprint in such a way.

Re:Indictment language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36275492)

But is it really the customers phone? These devices cost several hundred dollars new. This is not what most users are paying. For the price the users pay I would determine that the hardware is leased, let or part owned between the user and the phone company. If you don't like this, pay the full price for a stand alone phone up front.

Update was months ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36273962)

Welcome to what a year ago? Swype was a good addition that that update, yet you cannot even update that. Fortunately rooting is usually easy and HTC won't boot lock anymore. But yes Carriers should not stick their apps on that can't be removed.

Maybe I'm missing something (0)

merky1 (83978) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274018)

I have an Epic 4g, and I don't see the NASCAR and other sprint crap-ware running on the phone. Sure it's part of the image, and I can't delete them, but in my daily phone usage, they are completely unnoticeable. Of course, I took a day to figure out how to rebuild the "home" pages and organize things, but since then I haven't been bothered by any of the default crap.

I think this issue is just more FUD from the iPhone fanbois, since their mighty Apple controls their every action and thought. Not to mention, if the pre-loaded crap really bugs you, Sprint offers a Nexus with pure Android...

This isn't as annoying as the carriers removing tethering or removing basic functions of the phone in order to upsell other services. In that case I would definitely be running the nexus (even thought I can't stand softkeys) or looking for a new rom for the Epic.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274358)

What a brilliant solution! Just delete the shortcuts you say. Why didn't I think of that!? Here I thought all those unwanted aps taking up space on my phone's flash memory and starting up automatically (amazonmp3) slowing my phone down and using ram were a nuisance but then you come along and point out that the solution is to remove the icons and pretend they're not there. Thank you kind sir. Should I also do that with laptops I buy in the future too that are bogged down with unnecessary bloatware. I mean, why would I bother uninstalling anything ever when I can just remove those pesky shortcut icons and pretend everything is uninstalled. What a time saver. Sarcasm aside, yes, you are missing something.

These things must pay very well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274040)

For the amount they're willing to piss off their paying customers.

mobile providers are like junkies (2)

jzilla (256016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274074)

They keep raising prices on a service that gets cheaper every year. They use fraudulent billing practices. They don't compete in prices. They have convinced everyone on the planet they need a cellphone and every child over the age of 4 needs one for their safety. I look at my cellphone bill, and wonder how could they be so desperate for more money they have to resort to this level of depravity? They exhibit the same pattern as coke/crack heads. They will never have enough money, and they will resort to shadier and shadier practices to keep the coke flowing.

Re:mobile providers are like junkies (1)

Captain Taboo (1991866) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274246)

They keep raising prices on a service that gets cheaper every year.

And their customers chose to keep paying.

They use fraudulent billing practices. They don't compete in prices.

And their customers keep paying the bills, continuing to accept poor customer service and other abusive behavior, just to get a slightly better price.

They have convinced everyone on the planet they need a cellphone and every child over the age of 4 needs one for their safety.

Having lived over 40 years without ever owning a cellphone, I remain unconvinced.

I look at my cellphone bill, and wonder how could they be so desperate for more money they have to resort to this level of depravity?

And yet you keep sending them your money.

They exhibit the same pattern as coke/crack heads.

Your statement seems to apply more to cell phone owners than to the companies that are supplying their demand.

Re:mobile providers are like junkies (1)

Mystiq (101361) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274554)

I reject your reality and substitute my own.

People who want a cell phone don't have much choice in the US. If you want country-wide coverage, as most of us do, whether we need it or not, your choices are few and the plans for those companies are very similar: bullshit. I admit it, I don't like it, and I don't want to have to deal with the bullshit carriers put on phones so I may stick with my iPhone until that situation changes. Hate Apple but they're in control of the user experience which is good for me. I'd rather deal with a company known for good customer experience than a money-grubbing asshole like AT&T.

Customers keep paying the bills, accept poor customer service and other bullshit because there are no other cell carriers in the US with the phones most of us want (another story). I was the first in my family to get a smartphone and I won't go back to a "dumb phone" because the conveniences and value it grants are (barely) worth the price of having to deal with the bullshit cellphone market.

You'll notice one of the most common words in this post has been: bullshit. I don't like the market situation but I don't see it changing until it gets worse to the point where there's an outright consumer revolt, which I do think will happen. At least in the tech community, people are flocking to phones they can unlock so they can remove the bullshit they don't want. Eventually, carriers will get the hint, and that seems to be happening with some carriers now embracing the ability to unlock your phone. Maybe Google will get the hint sooner and stop carriers from including this bullshit on phones.

Nothing new. (1)

Octopuscabbage (1932234) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274112)

This happens all the time on Windows. Why are people getting mad like pre-loaded stuff you do not want is something new? Also, if you're the kind of person that will get upset over it, you probably have a custom rom on.

Re:Nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274154)

The reason it's a problem is because you CAN'T remove the apps. Period. They don't allow you to delete them. Same thing on my palm pre, you can't junk NASCAR or NFL apps.

Re:Nothing new. (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275064)

Really? You windows computer goes and downloads crapware from your manufacturer, your isp, or Microsoft? It then refuses to let you delete it?

Hold the Pickles Hold the Lettuce? (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274218)

The price of my Sprint Evo 4G phone ($400ish) was high enough that I expected to be able to ask for these to be removed at a Sprint Store. Instead, they removed the Task Killer application which I'd installed to automatically kill the Amazon, Nascar, NOVA, etc. The store representative said that once killed, Amazon and Nova are programmed to re-start themselves, creating potential conflicts. Yes, their resolution to that conflict was to remove the task killer. Also, I constantly delete data that NOVA etc. are gathering on the SD card (Amazon is the worst).

In other words, this isn't just pre-installed, it's apparently collecting data on my phone use, and restarting when I turn it off. The Sprint store rep put a shortcut to the "stop running programs" and said I should just turn them off several times per day and delete the data.

For weeks I've now been reading about how to "root" the phone so I can uninstall these applications, but the root-tweaking programs I've installed have these "installer beware" disclaimers saying that it may turn the $400 phone into a brick. I'm left feeling foolish that I am not confident enough about phone rooting, and I curl up in a ball hugging my knees to my chest.

Re:Hold the Pickles Hold the Lettuce? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274498)

Having worked as a Sprint service technician, if you do brick your phone, just take it to a service center and tell them you want it exchanged. Don't tell them you tried to modify it, but just tell them "well, one day it just started doing that." Get shitty with them if they put up resistance. They'll give in eventually.

The things that will make them balk is if there is physical damage to the phone or if the litmus dots on the back of the phone are smeared, indicating liquid damage. When I worked there, any phone we were going to exchange had to be taken apart and inspected for liquid damage. About 70% of the time or if the customer was a complete bitch we actually did that. We were supposed to charge to send in liquid or physically damaged phones for repair, or refer to the Asurion insurance. However, we never received any chargebacks for sending in a liquid damage (or even physically damaged) phone to the depot in Texas, so I suspect Sprint would like to be strict about things like this but can't afford to given they are not the strongest carrier out there in terms of reputation or coverage.

Re:Hold the Pickles Hold the Lettuce? (1)

kcitren (72383) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274592)

Just follow the steps from the xda-developers forum. There's very little risk if you just follow the instructions. If things go very wrong and you really brick your phone [which I've never heard of actually happening, every wrong thing always turned out to be recoverable], you can always get a replacement. Do have insurance for your phone from Sprint? It's a few bucks a month, but offers a really good service, covers basically everything, including physical damage from say, getting drunk and dropping the phone at a bar.

Re:Hold the Pickles Hold the Lettuce? (1)

LVWolfman (301977) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275210)

For weeks I've now been reading about how to "root" the phone so I can uninstall these applications, but the root-tweaking programs I've installed have these "installer beware" disclaimers saying that it may turn the $400 phone into a brick. I'm left feeling foolish that I am not confident enough about phone rooting, and I curl up in a ball hugging my knees to my chest.

There is nothing to fear. I downloaded unrevoked3 on my Mac and had my EVO rooted in maybe 5 minutes with a couple of mouse clicks. I used the tutorial at http://preview.tinyurl.com/49bozuc (GoodandEVO.net), the tutorial is for doing it under Windows (a little more involved) but it went a long way to comfort my before attacking my $400 phone to get ownership and control.

I removed all the unwanted system apps and am now able to backup my entire phone to the SD card (which I then archive to my computer.)

Major Privacy Violation (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274384)

This is such an over-the-top privacy violation (all those unavoidable permissions) that the privacy watchdogs should be salivating at eating up Sprint over this one.

I did note with interest and disappointment, that the latest version of I-Heart-Radio doesn't even show up on the ATK screen for killing any longer.

FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274392)

Back in my day everything was opt-in. You had to download the source, figure out how to compile and build it, and maybe even learn the build rules along the way. Now everything is handed to you. Convenience trumps control, eh?

Now its all opt-out if you are lucky, when the unconscionable companies are done taking their sweet time.

The Opt-Out Society (2)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274436)

This is part and parcel of the opt-out society that our corporate overlords have created.
Don't want to receive promotional e-mails? Too bad, you didn't opt out.
Don't want your personal information shared? Too bad, you didn't opt out.
Don't want crapware foisted upon your gadgets? Too bad, you didn't opt out.
Don't want to be drugged and kidnapped? Too bad, you didn't opt out.
Don't want your organs harvested? Too bad, you didn't opt out.

Verizon worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274606)

They'll even push down pay apps that have a trial like CityID. Can't uninstall it and after 30 days it nags you to either pay for it or it was disabling itself. I finally had enough and rooted my phone and deleted all the bloatware they force on their users.

Don't call it 'offering' an application (2)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274760)

Don't call it 'offering' an application when you force it on me without my consent.

Sprint does offer a variety of partner applications that are optimized for use on our wireless phones

Quit with the euphemism of 'offering' partner applications.

I would more properly compare it to a rapist that says he offers intercourse that is optimized for women who say No.

Verizon does the same shit with BING (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#36274788)

If you have an Andriod phone you can't even use Google???

It makes no sense and the phones are lucked because Microsoft gave them a contract dictating that they must be locked so they can get ad revenue and hurt Google. I find this unacceptable, which is why I choose AT&T (yes I know) as my Andriod platform of choice. At least I am root on my own phone

Solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36274826)

Unrevoked. It worked great for me. I'm also considering Cyanogenmod. Trying it out on my old HTC Hero, wifi only, for a while.

Optional install (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36275320)

With th iPhone your cellular provider has squat to do with what gets installed on your device. They just act as the connection provider and don't get in the way between your device and the hardware manufacturer. I am not saying this to trumpet the advantages of the iPhone, rather to ask why no other manufacturer has taken this approach?

BTW my provider does provide an app, but like everything else you get it from the app store.

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