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Is bloatware protected under the tenants of open source?  (Source: Optaros)

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, during a recent Q&A session  (Source: YouTube)
Google CEO says it would be violating one of Google's guiding principles to allow users to revert to stock configs

From skins like HTC's Sense UI and Motorola's Motoblur, to the deluge of apps installed on Android phones by carriers and hardware manufacturers, Android phones can be a bit cluttered at times -- much like their PC brethren. 

Many customers have wished in vain that there was a single, easy "reset to stock configuration" option, which will revert their phones to a stock build of Android and delete the excess.  Not so fast, says Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Mr. Schmidt, an opinionated figure in the tech industry and part-time evangelist for Google's philosophy, recently explained in a question and answer session why Google doesn't believe this is a good idea.  He states, "If we were to put those type of restrictions on an open source product, we'd be violating the principle of open source."

Of course "open source" is as wide and diverse an umbrella as possible in the tech industry, and Mr. Schmidt's definition of open source may be quite different from the next man's.

So other than taking the open source "moral higher ground", why might Google not want to give customers a quicker way to remove OEM/carrier junk?  Well one key reason is market share.  Google gives away Android for free, hoping that the mass adoption will more than make up for the development costs via advertising and app sales.  Part of the equation to convince wireless carriers and hardware manufactures to pick Android over a competitor (Symbian, webOS, Windows Phone 7) is allowing them to free modify their custom Android build to their heart's content.

But curiously, despite Mr. Schmidt's statement and the apparent advantages to adoption that not including a "clean build" option brings, Google reportedly will go in quite the opposite direction with Android 3.0 "Gingerbread".  Gingerbread will kill off custom OEM skins, replacing them with a single Google-made skin.  Of course the carrier-specific apps/junkware will likely remain, but Google's actions definitely show it to be quietly moving in the opposite direction, even as it defends customized deployments.

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I love Android but
By vectorm12 on 9/27/2010 5:34:28 AM , Rating: 2
I can't wait to get a chance to run a clean build of Android on my Galaxy S GT-I 9000.

Sure Samsung managed pretty well with the skin they built for it but the lack of features and many confusing functions are really starting to annoy me. Top that off with no OTA updates and the fact that Samsung still haven't released the promised update to 2.2 I'm starting to loose my patience with Samsung.

I never understood the benefit of locking customers into a specific system. It's not likely people are going to use crapware on their phones they don't want even if they are stuck with it until the root the phone.

I for one would like to see Samsung or HTC step up and released rooted phones where the consumer has control over the hardware and not the OEM/Google. I don't pay to license use of a phone. I pay to purchase a phone running a open-source OS that I can use as I wish.

Here's me praying Samsung will get off their ass and release froyo as well as Gingerbread for the Galaxy S GT-I9000

RE: I love Android but
By phantom505 on 9/27/2010 6:54:11 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think Samsung or HTC care as much as you think they do. However, the carriers they contract with care a lot. This mostly has to do with carriers demanding extra money for "features" you use such as tethering. It's quite a bit harder to gouge you when they don't have positive control over your phone.

RE: I love Android but
By vectorm12 on 9/27/2010 7:17:48 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah you're probably right, I guess the days of "make the enduser happy" are long gone.

The fact that the carriers differentiate between data that's going to the phone and data that's going through the phone to a different device over the same connection is just proof of how wrong serviceplans are set up atm.

After all there's no difference in the data no matter if it ends up in my phone or computer. As long as I pay for the data I consumer there's no reason to remove functionality from a product in order to earn extra money off already outrageous datacosts.

RE: I love Android but
By Spuke on 9/27/2010 9:23:25 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah you're probably right, I guess the days of "make the enduser happy" are long gone.
The thing is that it's impossible to make everyone happy. And everyone has their own definition of happiness.

RE: I love Android but
By Iaiken on 9/27/2010 9:28:21 AM , Rating: 2
Um... My Galaxy tester phone has a "Homescreen Selector" app in the apps list. It has both the Galaxy and Android Home as selectable options.

Did this not make it into the retail phones?

RE: I love Android but
By mcnabney on 9/27/2010 9:55:34 AM , Rating: 2

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