South Korea to banish bloatware from smartphones

Phone makers and carriers, take notice: You'll have to let smartphone owners delete all that software you stuff into handsets that no one actually wants.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

South Korea's government regulators ruled Thursday that bloatware might soon be a thing of the past for smartphone owners.

Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning ruled that starting in April, device makers and wireless carriers must allow users to delete built-in software to save room on their storage. In a statement, the organization said that the decision is based in its desire to "rectify an abnormal practice that causes inconvenience to smartphone users and causes unfair competition among industry players."

Bloatware has long been an issue for technology users. PC makers have been derided for years for bundling unnecessary, unwanted, or just plain nuisance software -- media players, security packages, and much more -- into their machines before they send them out to consumers. The practice has now migrated to mobile, where storage is at a premium and a staggering amount is taken up right out of the box.

When the rules go into effect in April, only "necessary" apps will be allowed to remain untouched, including Wi-Fi connectivity, near-field communication support, and an app store. All other preinstalled programs will be something that users can uninstall.

Let's hope such rules are enacted elsewhere.

(Via ZDNet)