The recent noise about Carrier IQ reminded me of an issue with Android mobile phones that really annoys me. The issue is the proliferation of pre-installed apps on your phone over which you have no control. At least two-thirds of the apps that came pre-installed on my Android phone are of no interest and/or no use to me. These apps cannot be removed unless you know how to root or hack into your phone. Supposedly holding down the ‘s’ key when booting my phone puts it into Safe Mode which allows you to remove the offending applications. Well, it only works with apps you installed from the Android Market and not the ones that came with the phone.
I am not talking about the apps that may be essential to the phone’s operation. I am talking about apps like CarDock, DriveSmart, Family Room, Latitude, News, News & Weather (why two News apps?) and Slacker. They load every time you turn your phone on and you cannot turn them off, much less remove them. Sure, you can go into Applications/Manage Applications/Running and do a Force Stop, but this doesn’t really work. Magically, the applications you thought you had stopped come back on to suck up battery juice and memory.
Among apps I downloaded by choice, the worst offender was Hotmail’s Android Market app. You cannot Force Stop it for even a few minutes as it uses up all of your phone’s power and memory. I kept getting messages telling me the Hotmail app had been running too long and did I want to turn it off – so I removed it permanently.
My wish for the New Year is a complete choice of apps when investing in a new mobile phone. I want to choose the browser, music, media, email and instant messaging clients myself. I also want to be able to truly stop an app if I don’t want it running and start it again when I need it, like the Manual/Automatic/Disable dialogue found in Services on a Windows OS computer.
Maybe I have been a computer geek too long, but to me mobile phones are small computers and we should have more control over the applications that run on them. Whether it’s an app like Carrier IQ or Hotmail or Photoshop, the idea is the same. We need to be able to control the apps and better manage system resources on our phones.
Comments and feedback on this topic are appreciated!