Anyone remember the carrier bloat tests we did on the Samsung Galaxy S4 back in 2013? It was presented as a mock awards show, based on the fact that the Canadian version of that phone shipped with custom firmware for every major carrier on board. I can’t say whether or not this is the case for the US variants of the new Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, but I can demonstrate at least two examples of carrier meddling with those devices.
Android Central reports an abundance of bloat with their version of these phones, as you can see in their photo above. Those “value-add” apps are: AT&T Locker, AT&T Protect Plus, Device Help, DirecTV, Drive Mode, myAT&T, Plenti, Smart Limits, Usage Manager and AT&T’s Visual Voicemail. How do you find them?
You can tell which apps are AT&T apps because they almost universally have terrible old icons and designs.
Android Police reports that Verizon has gone in a somewhat different direction, deciding in their infinite wisdom to remove Samsung Pay from these two Samsung flagships. For the time being, savvy users can sideload the app via AP’s own APK Mirror, and there are rumours that Samsung might make their tap and pay solution available on Google Play at some unknown point in the future. But why remove it in the first place?
An obvious workaround to this carrier meddling would be to purchase your S7 or S7 edge SIM-unlocked from a third party. But I’ve also read unconfirmed reports that these devices will automatically lock to the network accessed by the first SIM you insert. And let’s not forget the region-locking that treats Samsung phones like DVDs.
Is it fair to say that Samsung makes smartphones for carriers, not users?