If you've ever bought a new computer, you know it comes pre-loaded with a bunch of "value-added" third-party software that includes "useful" freebies and trial programs. Most of them you don't need and won't ever use, which is why in the tech world we've dubbed it "bloatware."
Unfortunately, bloatware didn't stay on computers, but found its way to smartphones, too. Even worse, while you can uninstall bloatware from a computer, you can't uninstall bloatware on a smartphone; you just have to hide it or disable it. Fortunately, at least one smartphone player is rethinking this policy.
If you have an Android smartphone, you might notice you have Google+, Gmail, Google Play Books, Google Newsstand and more installed by default. And you can't get rid of them, even if you're never going to use them.
The reason they're included is because Google requires phone manufacturers to include a list of Google apps if they also want access to the Google Play Store. As Google Play, and its 1+ million apps, is a major selling point for Android phones, most manufacturers go along with it.
However, Google seems to have realized that consumers want a choice. So it recently changed its rules so that manufacturers don't have to include Google Play Games, Google Play Books, Google+ and Google Newsstand.
If you want any of these apps, you can download them from Google Play. And, don't worry, Google is still updating and improving them, so if it's an app you use and love you won't have to go find an alternative.
Hopefully, this trend is going to rub off on other companies. As you might have noticed, Apple and Microsoft do the same thing on their gadgets. Phone manufacturers and cellular carriers also shovel in their own "value-added" apps to their smartphones.
It would be nice if these apps were optional, or you could at least remove them to clear up space.
What apps came with your smartphone that you wish you could uninstall? Do you use any of the Google apps that are no longer required? Let us know in the comments.