One thing Samsung can do to drastically improve its phones

There's one issue that prevents Android purists from adopting Samsung devices. Jack Wallen explains.

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Image: Amazon

Confession here: I'm a Google Pixel fan--I have been since the release of the first device to hold that moniker. You might be wondering, why do I prefer the Pixel line of devices, over the numerous other Android smartphones on the market? That's a good question, but it's one that's actually quite easy to answer. 

It's not the hardware--there are much faster, more elegant, and impressive devices available. It used to be the camera, but the competition has caught up. It's not the ease of onboarding, although that's pretty sweet. It's not the software (well, sort of). Let me explain, as that will clearly indicate what Samsung needs to do to become the greatest manufacturer of Android devices on the planet.

The thing about Android software is that, for the most part, you can have the exact same apps on one device as you can another, with one major exception. Do you see where I'm going with this?

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020: Galaxy Z Fold2, Samsung Galaxy S20, and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The primary reason why I've stuck with Pixel phones is the Android experience is pure. In other words, it's not compromised by extraneous or redundant software. When I onboard a new Pixel device, the number of preinstalled apps is at a bare minimum. It's not until I install the software I need that the App Drawer begins to fill up.

On a Samsung device, that idea is laughable. Not only do you have to deal with Samsung's Android UI, you get all of those Samsung apps that no one ever uses: 

  • Samsung's web browser

  • Samsung's email client

  • Samsung's image gallery

  • Samsung's Bixby

It doesn't end with the Samsung Browser, email client, and app store. Oh no. Every Samsung device I've ever owned or tested also included software from the associated Carrier. 

Right now I am looking at an AT&T Samsung Galaxy phone that not only has the usual Google and Samsung apps, but also includes:

  • AT&T Call Protect

  • Device Help

  • Mobile Security

  • myAT&T

  • Setup & Transfer

  • AT&T Smart Wifi  

Out of the box, those are 10 apps I'll never use. Ever. Period. End of story.

Here's the thing with this particular phone: It doesn't have an AT&T sim card installed, but since it's an AT&T-branded phone, it still contains the AT&T software. To make matters worse, you can't uninstall the AT&T or Samsung software.

At one time this was a serious issue because device internal storage was limited. When you have a phone that only includes 8, 16, or 32 GB of storage, every app counts. Now, with phones that include 128 GB of internal storage, it's not a problem.

However, it is an inconvenience. When I open my App Drawer, the last thing I want is to have to scroll through a sea of unwanted apps to find what I'm looking for. I want a clean interface, free of junk. If I opt for a carrier-branded Samsung device, that's simply not possible. 

Okay, it is possible. For instance, I could install the Nova Launcher (which is actually quite a good option) and then use it to hide apps from the app launcher, but that doesn't remove them--it only removes them from sight. Using Nova Launcher does sweep Samsung's UI to the curb (another bonus). 

Getting a pure Android experience on a Samsung device simply isn't possible, at least not without rooting. That's a shame, because Samsung hardware is some of the best on the market. Even so, for me, all of that bloatware is a deal-breaker.

If Samsung would finally wake up and realize its (and carrier's) apps add zero value to the hardware, they could then opt for a pure Android experience, and completely dominate the market. The day Samsung offers a pure Android option, I'll look away from the Google Pixel line of devices and possibly never return.

Given the track record of failures Google hardware has suffered over the years, I would gladly make the jump. I've had to RMA three Pixel phones over the past two years--that's something I've never had to do with a Samsung device.

The fact that I'm willing to continue using questionable Pixel hardware over more reliable Samsung devices should go a long way to indicate how strongly I feel about this issue.

Bloatware. It's 2021--this shouldn't even be a thing.

Samsung, if you truly want Pixel users to jump ship for your shores, it's time to finally offer a pure Android version of your phones.

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By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....