From Carrier App Bloat to Carrier Cloud Antidote

Hal Steger : Thinking Out Cloud
Hal Steger
Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Funambol. 20+ years of marketing & product management experience at high-growth, innovative global software companies.
| This blog is about personal cloud solutions, technology, trends and market developments. Its scope is to comment on and discuss several aspects of personal clouds.

From Carrier App Bloat to Carrier Cloud Antidote

recent New York Times "Tech Fix" article about the new Samsung Galaxy S7, "Samsung's Smartphones Aren't the Problem (Just Prune the Bad Apps)", said the phone's hardware was excellent but it suffered from weak apps. The article started, "PITY the poor Samsung smartphone.", referring to great hardware and poor apps. The suggestion: replace the offending apps, the number one cause of which was carrier app bloat.

Although the article did not mention cloud apps, they are guilty by association. The article said there were four music apps. New Android phones sometimes come with 5 cloud storage apps.

Carrier app bloatware does not help anyone - carriers, users or app developers. Although users can ignore apps, when cloud apps run in the background, not only do they affect performance but they can store user content in places the user knows nothing about. Why should the first thing that people do with a new phone is uninstall a lot of apps and replace them? For built-in apps, uninstalling is non-trivial.

The article mentioned that a benefit of iPhone is that Apple controls the entire user experience. The inference is that Apple would not install multiple apps that do the same thing, to avoid confusing users. That is well and good except for one thing - iCloud is not a great personal cloud. So Apple's simple approach must be weighed against users being stuck with an ok cloud. This is not surprising - smartphone makers are generally better known for hardware than software, and cloud apps are no exception.

The ideal would be to use the best cloud app on the best phone hardware. As the article suggests, this is possible with some effort, but most people will not bother, for a variety of reasons. A better approach is for carriers and device makers to put the best-in-class cloud app on their devices instead of five. If companies want an easy way to significantly improve their user experience, this is the antidote to carrier app bloat.