Bundled Applications And Your Smartphone

Posted: Jan 27 2014, 6:30am CST | by , Updated: Jan 27 2014, 6:36am CST, in Technology News


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Bundled Applications and Your Smartphone

New guidelines from South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, that will commence in April will require users to have the ability to uninstall any application pre-installed on their phone (reports Ryan Huang for ZDNet). The exceptions are for applications that are required for Wi-Fi connectivity, NFC, customer support, and a connected App Store.

I don’t think any manufacturer or network will be pushing for this to expand outside of South Korea. Bundling applications is a vital part of the smartphone story. They help differentiate brands running a similar operating system, they help focus users on the abilities of specific models from a single manufacturer, and arguably the inclusion of an application in the distribution can be a revenue stream with ‘pay for placement’ or the leveraging of in-app purchasing.

Having the application always present on the phone will always entice a user to click on it. Multiply that click factor out over millions of handsets and even a $5 CPM for an advert or a small referral fee for an online store adds up. By having the apps ‘uninstallable’ their inclusion in a smartphone is more valuable.

There is also the adoption factor. If a user is looking to share a picture online they will generally look to the built-in and bundled apps first of all before heading to the app store. If they want an eBook client, an RSS reader, or an IM client, the bundled apps will get the first bite of the cherry.

That’s why so many online services and start-ups target not just mobile, but target the bundled option to get on to the handset as it leaves the factory. That’s why so many of the cloud services that are run by a handset manufacturer are visible throughout a user interface. While you can hide them, tuck them away in a folder, or put them at the bottom of your app launcher, they will always be there.

Now, there are ways around this, but the percentage of users who are going to dig out Titanium Backup on their Android, fiddle around with custom ROMS, and generally short circuit this process, is very small. They are not the target audience. The target audience is the general public, and it applies across all the major operating systems and manufacturers. The majority of Android devices have bundled apps locked in; Apple might not work with third party apps in this regard, but try removing Newstand; and Windows Phone, which allows a user to delete the majority of applications, draws the line at deleting Office and OneNote from your handset.

As margins on smartphone production drop, and the smartphone platform heads towards commodity levels, alternative revenue sources will become more important to manufacturers, just as they were in the PC desktop and laptop markets. While the South Korean initiative is welcome for individuals, it places a legislative brake on the income that can be generated by networks and manufacturers. I very much doubt that these guidelines would be welcomed in other territories around the world, and it would not surprise me if there was a significant amount of lobbying against a proposal if it was up for discussion.

Hands-On Samsung's New Gear

Source: Forbes

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