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Level 4: Private Eye

An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Dear Telstra Management,

 

I understand that Telstra is in the business of selling communications products and services, and I support that as a long-time and loyal customer. I also understand that you wish to install branding and "added value" in your mobile phone products, to assist customers in discovering and using the other services that Telstra offers.

 

What I don't understand is why you feel the need to afflict customers with useless and annoying modifications which permanently alter the user's experience. Such modifications invariably reduce the value of the device to the user, resulting in customers left with a sour taste in their mouths.

 

It is well established in the Android enthusiast community that carrier modifications significantly affect the phone's performance and usability, almost always in a negative way. In general terms, it is well established that carrier-customised phones have less performance and worse battery life than otherwise-identical unbranded handsets. That means that Telstra is knowingly and deliberately making the phones they sell worse than they would have otherwise been, in an attempt to make a few more bucks out of every user. 

 

These bloatware customisations which are of no value to the user and only hamper the phone's performance. Many buyers avoid carrier-branded phones for this very reason, and would rather go without warranty and subsidized handsets than to use phones weighed down by useless and unnecessary customisations.

 

Below are a few simple changes which Telstra could implement to make their Android devices more attractive to buyers. I believe these changes would be beneficial to both Telstra and their customers.

 

Install less (preferably none) of the useless bloatware

I understand that pre-configuring Telstra phones with apps and shortcuts is a good way to make new users aware of the other services Telstra can provide - some users might even find them useful. However, the vast number of pointless links, apps and shortcuts found on a new Telstra-branded Android phone is staggering.

 

From a customer perspective, there's a simple test for whether a customisation should be added to a phone:

1. Does this software genuinely add value to the product?

2. Does this software ensure that the performance of the device (both speed and battery life) is retained?

3. Is the average user likely to use this application/function?

If the answer to any of the above questions is NO, then it's very likely that it shouldn't be installed. If you're in doubt, engage with your user base by asking the question on forums like this. A proactive approach is always appreciated.

 

Moreover, if you are going to include a application that's linked to one of Telstra's services, make it a proper one! A shortcut that only links to a webpage is incredibly lame and looks rather half-hearted, especially when the browser's shortcut list also contains the same link. This practice is especially annoying when the links won't work while the user is accessing the internet via WiFi - and there's no explanation for this problem, just an error page. This makes your premium services look pathetic and buggy....not a good look for Australia's premium carrier.

 

It's worth noting that bloatware is not present on iPhones, and yet there's no reason to suspect that Telstra is losing money on iPhone users because of a lack of premium services promotion. Why should Android users be treated as second-class citizens on your network, deluged with junk apps?

 

Omitting the pointless bloatware would improve performance, making the devices more appealing to the user. In addition, Telstra could probably save some money in not bothering to implement and test them. Please understand that very few people want these pointless customisations on their phones - which brings me to my next point....

 

Allow removal of all Telstra-added applications

This is one of the most frequent complaints about Telstra phones in public forums, and a very simple change to implement. Hard-coding these applications into the system files so they can't be removed is simply an abuse of power, and there's no excuse for it. I don't need an extra 30 useless shortcuts in my app drawer that can't be removed - this just means I have to scroll further to find the app I'm actually looking for.

 

When users purchase an Android phone, they have an expectation that the phone is theirs to do as they see fit - especially those who buy the phone outright and unlocked. Android is especially popular with those who wish to customise their device, and the policy of hard-coding Telstra apps goes directly against this principle. It seems that Telstra has actually gone out of their way to prevent these apps being uninstalled, which is just plain crazy.

 

Make the applications removable like every other 3rd-party application, and everyone is happier. Telstra could easily make the applications available on the Android Market, or on Telstra's own web portal, for reinstallation if a user wishes to restore a removed application.

 

Release timely Android OS updates

Updates are extremely important to a lot of people, and they need to be rolled out to customers in a timely fashion. These updates can add signficantly to the device's functionality, improve performance and make users feel like they are getting a newer phone for free. Updates are therefore a vital part of the modern smartphone paradigm, and one that Telstra appears to have little or no interest in. Telstra's Android updates have a history of painfully delayed releases in comparison to unbranded handsets, which is often perceived as a disadvantage by potential buyers.

 

I recognise that modifying and testing Telstra's custom installations for each device and each updated release is an expensive and time-consuming process. However, this problem is, for the most part, self-inflicted! The customisations to menu systems and core applications that cost so much to implement and test with every OS update are the very ones which are unwanted by users and could be so easily omitted in the first place.

 

Without the burden of extensive carrier customisations, the updates released by Google and the various handset manufacturers could be much more quickly and economically passed on to customers - a direct saving in Telstra's overhead costs. This is a competitive advantage which I believe Telstra could and should embrace.

 

 On a related note:

Get new phones to market quickly

Enthusiasm for the lastest technology has often faded by the time Telstra finally releases a handset. For example, Telstra was one of the last carriers in the western world to launch the HTC Sensation, and will be similarly tardy in releasing the Samsung Galaxy S2. I believe that these delays are often to Telstra's detriment, especially when other carriers release the same phone weeks or even months earlier. There are plenty of enthusiasts who are willing to break contracts and change carriers to have the latest technology - Telstra could capitalise on this market by releasing phones more quickly than its competitors.

 

Of course, getting phones to market more quickly is much easier without the myriad of complex customisations and tweaks Telstra has traditionally implemented. I recognise that network testing and radio configurations need to be carefully implemented and testing, but limiting customisations would significantly reduce time to market - a win for both sellers and buyers.

 

Please note: I am not asking that all Telstra's Android phones be free of branding. There's no reason Telstra logos can't be on the phone casing, in the boot-up screen, the phone wallpaper and so on. These things don't affect the user experience at all, and most are easily changed if the user wishes.

 

I hope these suggestions are taken seriously, rather than being dismissed as a ranting complaint. I genuinely believe that this sort of customer engagement is exactly the sort of communication Telstra needs to stay connected to its customers.

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Level 21: Augmented

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

I'd be willing to bet that the people that are set the task to implement these customisation do so against their better judgement, it does reek of being a marketing driven program and as you mention, poor marketing at best as it does little to add to the end user experience but rather detracts from it, Telstra aren't alone in this as other carriers do similar things to various handsets, I feel if the handset is a carrier exclusive they could feel the need to add some branding, when they are handsets that are available on other carriers it can make other options look more appealing though

 

that's another added advantage of the iPhone, no carrier induced bloat, only because Apple don't allow it

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Statistically, three out of five people are not the other two
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Level 5: Eagle Eye

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Totally agree.

 

Have a think about this...

 

--------------

Situation 1
--------------

Imagine if you purchased a car from Toyota, with nice leather seats...

 

When you pick up the car for the first time, there are some cheap terry-towel seat covers on those seats that say "Your Local Toyota dealer is xxxxxx and we can service your car."

 

You would be thinking - great - Ok, My local Toyota dealer wants to promote THEIR service centre, make some money... Fair enough.   Well, thanks for the info, I will keep that in mind, but those seat covers have to go....

 

You go to remove the seat covers....  WTF !!!  The dealer has super glued them to my nice new leather seats!!!

 

Would you be appreciating that?

 

These crappy seat covers that can not be removed are the telstra "apps" that are flimsy links back to telstra web pages to try and get you to buy more services from them.

 

---------------

Situation 2

---------------

Toyota realises there is an issue with the brakes on the model car you have.  They issue a public statement that they have a fix for this important safety issue.  They have shipped the replacement parts to all the dealers, and they will be available from the dealers tomorrow morning, just call your dealer.

 

You call your local Toyota dealer to book your car in.  They say that the safety fix will not be available for another two months. The reason is they have sent all the replacement break parts off to a company that does laser engraving to get their dealer name and address engraved on them.
You say - ok don't worry about it, I will get the generic parts direct  from Toyota or another dealer.

 

Your local dealer informs you that wont be an option, as your car wheels have lock nuts on them, and your dealer is the only one with the key - so they and they alone are the only ones who can get the wheels off to fix the breaks - You will have to wait till they get all the parts branded with their advertising details, and get around to being ready

 

Would you put up with that?  Would you want to go back to that dealer to get your next car?

 

This is like Telstra holding up security updates so that they can brand the parts that they replace with their logos and links

 

---------------

Situation 3

---------------

You decide that you want to fit a better Stereo on your car, perhaps some Mag wheels...  Even get the suspension lowered. 

You are a mechanic, and could practically build a car from scratch - You know what you are doing...  You understand that it will probably void the warranty on your car but its your car, you are an adult , capable of making your own decisions....

 

You put on your overalls to get stated - and then realise that Toyota has put special screw heads on everything - and you need a special screwdriver to change everything.  There is world wide uproar.  Toyota's facebook page gets covered by complaints by people from over the world.

The CEO of Toyota announces on their facebook page that a small but passionate group of mechanics from around the world have spoken, and from now on, Toyota will no longer ship cars with special screw heads.

By September they will have shipped to all the dealers the special screwdrivers for people to use to unlock their screws.

 

Now....  here is a question...  Will your local dealer provide these screwdrivers to those who want them?  or prevent their import into the country?

 

This could be how Telstra handles the unlocked boot loaders that HTC are releasing in September.

 

Here is a hint Telstra -  Please pass them along, don't block HTC from releasing them in Australia.  It would be a very bad move on the part of PR and will be talked about world wide...

 

Please stop treating your customers like children,

You don't need to FORCE your marketing down everyone's throats, they are all ready your customers...  Do you want to make their experience a pleasure or ensure buyers remorse?

 

.... and remember the saying:

Just because you can [plaster your logo all over a phone and remove everyone's choice about it], does not mean you should.

 

Warmly, Marty

 

 

-=-=-=-=-
Passionate android user, tech geek and artist / jeweller.
NOT a Telstra Employee - Just a customer (only while they provide a service that meets my expectations and principals)
-=-=-=-=-
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Level 2: Rookie

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

I agree 100%!

Could someone from Telstra PLEASE confirm they have noticed how poorly their intrusive policies are received in the market place (by people who are ALREADY Telstra customers - you don't really need to do the "hard sell" on us!), and PLEASE let us know they are actually thinking  doing something positive about it?

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Level 10: Junior Detective

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

All the so-called unmetered content has to be paid for too, that's lame.

 

meh, I ignore the guff as much as I can anyway.

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Telstra (Retired)
Telstra (Retired)

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Hi klaw81,

 

Thank you for taking the time and effort to thoughtfully construct a well informed and current piece of feedback. It's honestly refreshing to see our customers sincerely reach out to us with the simple intention of open engagement and I couldn't agree with you more in that we need to stay connected with our customers.

 

There are many valid points of feedback in your post and the subsequent posts the other users have written, please rest assured that I am going to ensure your open letter is received by the intended recipient/s and also that I will update you with any progress I make as I make this.

 

 

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Telstra (Retired)
Telstra (Retired)

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware


StephenD wrote:

There are many valid points of feedback in your post and the subsequent posts the other users have written, please rest assured that I am going to ensure your open letter is received by the intended recipient/s and also that I will update you with any progress I make as I make this.


I have an update on this: David Powell from the team who make these decisions will be posting on here so as to explain the design decisions we made with regard to pre-installed Telstra Android apps.

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Telstra (Retired)
Telstra (Retired)

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Hi Klaw,

 

First I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write.  You’ve put in a lot of time and thought into your post which makes it clear that you are passionate about this subject. Thanks for being constructive in your feedback. 

 

I want to share with you the steps that are being taken to address the points you’ve raised.

 

Our device experience strategy has been constantly evolving over the last few years as a response to feedback like yours. We understand that in a world with increasing smartphone usage, some customers want much greater control over their devices in line with these device’s capabilities.

 

As such, we are progressively introducing a revised device experience strategy, to give our customers much greater control over all aspects of the device experience, whilst continuing to provide easy access to Telstra services like unmetered BigPond content.

 

This approach started with the Windows Phone 7 launch late last year and we have been progressively rolling this out on other devices platforms going forward, looking carefully at each individual platform and working to its strengths.

 

With this in mind, you’ll find the following changes for our customers throughout the new generation of Android devices:

 

-          Reduced amount of device pre-loads and the inclusion of TelstraOne, a single application giving customers unmetered access to My Account, News, Sport and Weather.

-          The ability to remove/uninstall Telstra pre-loaded applications on device (the only exception being TelstraOne) so that customers now have the option to remove services that are not of interest.

-          Telstra applications progressively available via the Android Market for installation and reinstallation should a user wishes to restore any removed application.

-          Removal of all web links in application tray. We agree that if it isn’t an app, it doesn’t belong in the Application tray.

-          The continued capability to fully customise Android homescreen (we still have some core Telstra services, application links and widgets available, but in line with the new strategy, these have been reduced and customers again have the option to remove these services if they’re not of interest).

-          We are also conscious that internal phone memory is finite and have worked hard to reduce the memory footprint of the TelstraOne application, freeing up valuable memory for those users who need the more memory to install apps from Android Marketplace.

 

In addition to new devices, all Android device OS updates from Telstra going forward will feature these capabilities and features giving our customers much greater control over their devices and removing the “bloatware.”

 

With regards device testing, whilst we evaluate every device against a series of technical criteria, device experience & usability criteria, the vast majority of our testing is centred around network interoperability and we take a stance that device customisations are never be allowed to delay software releases and must be completed within our normal testing phase.

 

We make sure that any service or application embedded on a Telstra device does not adversely affect performance of the device both speed and battery life. If you have specifics details , it would be great if we could discuss as I’d be open to feedback on that too.  

 

Finally, by pre-embedding TelstraOne app, we’ve streamlined the process, allowing deployment of a single application within the tray rather than multiple instances, thus reducing testing times and simplifying the device experience.

 

I’d be happy to have a chat over the phone to talk you through these points as it is feedback like yours that will help us to provide better products in the future.

 

Regards

 

David

 

 

David Powell | GM Device Experience, Apps & OS

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Level 10: Junior Detective

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Thanks David for your response on the issue.

 

At Christmas time, Telstra released a "55 days of chistmas" or some such app for android.  while noting it wasn't a serious app of any kind, just a festive time-waster, I did note that it didn't display properly on Telstra's own T-Touch Tab released a little earlier. (ie it didn't scale to fit correctly on the larger screen)

 

I'm still a little concerned that a lot of the so-called unmetered content is for a fair chunk of paid content (music, videos ringtones, backgrounds, games, NEWS, WEATHER, etc) that cost DOLLARS (not cents...) I feel that you are out of touch with the market.

 

 

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Level 5: Eagle Eye

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Hi David Powell / StephenD,
 
I know this is a long email, but please take the time to read it, and a question for you at the end.
 
It means a lot that you took the time to reply in such detail, and StephenD for helping this happen.
This is certainly not the Telstra of a few years ago. Even the fact that you have this forum is a huge step forward.
 
I purchased my HTC Desire the day they were released. 
Up to that point I had been waiting nearly 3 years for a smart phone - living off 'hand me downs' from friends during that time as each feature phone I had wore out.  I didn't want to buy a smart phone till the one that met my expectations and desires came out.  Being a bit of a tech nerd, I had high expectations. (and for me iPhone does not cut the mustard)
 
I loved my HTC Desire.  It did have one unexpected flaw - not enough memory for apps.  On discovering that, it was also the time I started to despise the Telstra 'extra' stuff I could not remove.   Then I learnt how to Root the phone and install custom ROMs.  My Desire started to hum along again, better than the stock standard, and no memory issues, and no 'bloatware'. 
The last ROM I was using was the 'Insert coin ROM by Baadnewz" that even had 90% of the new HTC Sense 3.0 merged with Sense 2.1 AWESOME!
 
At the start of this year, dual core phones were starting to appear on the market, HTC Sensation was scheduled for release, DUAL CORE CPU!!  - Being the Tech nerd, I had to have one.  I asked at many Telstra stores, asked Telstra Tech support, even HTC Australia - Every one said it wasn't coming to Telstra.  
Tears ensued.
 
Then I saw the announcement - in two weeks you would have it. 
 
My concerns however were:
HTC had locked the boot-loader so the phone could not be rooted and Telstra bloatware could not be removed.
 
HTC then announced they would unlock the bootloader.
I decided to take the plunge and get one.
 
I have the phone, and totally love it.  There are a few things I would like to change within HTC Sense to improve it - which will be simple as soon as the phone is unlocked and I have root access.
 
And to be honest, the Telstra bloatware is not as bad as it was on the HTC desire.  
 
So thank you Telstra.  I love the 'new you' .  And your Twitter 'social support team' are worth more than you ever will realise - You would not believe the hurdles I had to get past to even get my HTC Sensation in the first place - but they sorted it all out.
 
Now my question is, and this is a VERY important one...
When HTC release the bootloader unlocking, (which is in two parts, one in August, one in September) - do you intend to pass that onto your clients, or block it?
 
To be honest, there is not any point in blocking the bootloader unlock, as all the phones from HTC before the Sensation and Evo3D were not locked, and none of the ones after will be locked either - so pointless to pick on this one and get bad PR for it.
 
Judging by the attitude that the 'new Telstra' has shown, I would think 'yes' you will pass it on.  However I must say that I am still quite concerned that some executive somewhere along the chain of command still does not 'get it' and might do something stupid.
 
Please let us know, so we can sleep at night.
 
Warmly, Marty

-=-=-=-=-
Passionate android user, tech geek and artist / jeweller.
NOT a Telstra Employee - Just a customer (only while they provide a service that meets my expectations and principals)
-=-=-=-=-
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Level 2: Rookie

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

David,

 

Thank you for your reply - and thank you for the change in attitude from Telstra. I am more than happy to have a single "TelstraOne" app installed, (especially if the existing stuff can be removed), and I won't bother to try to circumvent it or remove it. I am a Telstra customer for a variety of reasons (not least of which is that it s the ONLY effective mobile coverage in some of the places I visit with my work), and I don't mind the idea of my Telco trying to offer "fries with that" - as long as I can say "no" when I don't want fries, but sometimes, I will take the fries (thanks for offering!) - and maybe a shake as well.

 

A single point of contact on my phone is vastly preferable to a bunch of poorly executed apps and links which I don't want and can't remove from my phone.

 

I have loaded the TelstraOne app onto my phone from the Market (Telstra post-paid HTC Wildfire - running Telstra-branded FroYo), and I have to say I like it better than the old approach. Who knows - I might even get to like it, and use it from time to time!

 

Two issues for Telstra developers to look at:

 

a) It's 7.3 MB, and it won't install to SD card - I think it still needs some work to streamline it, and preferably allow users to move to SD (although this may not be compatible with Telstra's aim of keeping SOME "branding" hard-wired on every phone?)

 

b) All the old Telstra stuff is still there (and still can't be removed) - can we hope that at some time soon Telstra will do an update that will remove all the old apps and replace with just the single TelstraOne app?

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Level 5: Eagle Eye

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

 

I believe the Telstra app has a widget - Which means it will not run from the SD card.

The only way to get a widget app to work on SD is to root and do some trickery.

 

So I don't think install to sd is an option.  Not because they wont, because they cant.

 

The only way would be to split the app into two parts, and have the widget part on the phone, the rest on the SD card.

That however will be a pain to write an app like that., make it run like a lame dog,  and also you are only moving part to the SD card - which defeats the purpose.

 

Warmly, Marty

 

 
-=-=-=-=-
Passionate android user, tech geek and artist / jeweller.
NOT a Telstra Employee - Just a customer (only while they provide a service that meets my expectations and principals)
-=-=-=-=-
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Level 4: Private Eye

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Thanks Stephen & David for your replies....and thanks to you other guys for your support.

 

I was pleased to see that my post received the sort of response I was hoping for. I was even more pleased to see that Telstra has already taken steps towards making their proprietary software more streamlined and less intrusive. I hope that in the future, this change of approach will decrease times for release of both new devices, and software updates for old devices. I noted that the new Sensation featured a lot less branding than my Desire, which is a welcome change.

 

With regard to TelstraOne, I agree that the installation of a single application that provides access to all of Telstra's services is an excellent way to implement branding. However, I share other's concerns that this application takes up a large chunk of user memory, indicating that it's somewhat inefficiently coded - most applications I have downloaded are 5Mb or less, including several games with high-resolution graphics. I'd suggest more work on this is needed.

 

In addition, you have stated that TelstraOne will not be removable. I'm curious to know why you would go so far as to allow removal of everything else, but not this last application? My understanding is that access to unmetered content is controlled by UAStrings rather than authentication via an application/sign-in, so it's not a matter of necessity for delivering services.

 

I know I personally don't use anything on this application - I can access my data usage from a simple 3rd-party widget, and that's the only Telstra-sourced information I'm ever likely to want. Given that situation, why would I want to have a large resource-hogging application sitting on my phone that never gets used? Please make it removable, so users have a choice. If you make the application available on Telstra's website or on the Android Market, it could be easily reinstalled by anyone who wants it. Again, iPhone users are not afflicted in this way, and I can't see why Android users should be treated differently.

 

In addition, I notice that several users have complained that their Market link has recently been "upgraded" to show a collection of Telstra applications (see here for more information), which seems to be a rather invasive and retrograde step. I'd welcome your explanation of why this happened, given your commitment to less interference. These are devices owned by private citizens - they are not on loan, and they are not yours to modify whenever you please. They are usually the most personal of personal computers, and users really resent Telstra reaching into their phones in such an invasive way.

 

Again, thank you for your considered and detailed response. It seems that CrowdSupport has already been a benefit to users, and well worth the investment.

 

Tim

 

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Level 2: Rookie

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Marty,

 

Fair enough, I can understand there may be technical issues preventing installation on SD. Still - 7.3 MB! That's a fair burden on a modest phone like my Wildfire for an App that frankly I think I would only very rarely if ever use, so it will be an uninstall for me. I'll look at it again if / when Telstra push it onto my phone, and / or if I hear they have done some smart coding to reduce the memory footprint a lot, and / or it inlcudes some features that are actually USEFUL, rather than just promotions of Telstra services that I don't use.

 

It is the 4th biggest App on my phone right now:

 

1. Touchdown (full syncing with my work Outlook Exchange account) @ 16.9 MB (10.9 MB for the app, 6 MB of data)

2. Google Maps @12.1 MB (10.5 MB for the app, 1.6 MB of data - presumably cached maps)

3. Android Market @ 8.3 MB (6.8 MB for the app - it's the new "shiny" Market - and 1.4 MB of cache)

4. TelstraOne @ 7.3 MB (7.0 MB for the app, and 0.4 Mb of data)

5. Documents to Go (Full version - full editing and creation of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc) @ 4.7 MB

6. Navigator @ 4.6 MB (4.0 Mb for the app, 0.6 MB of data) - I never use this, as I much prefer Google Maps, but it is not uninstallable.

 

Numbers 1, 2, 3 & 5 are useful / essential Apps for me, so they will stay. Number 2 (TelstraOne) is just too much overhead for features I don't want, and Number 6 I would happily uninstall (if I could), as I never use it.

Highlighted
Telstra (Retired)
Telstra (Retired)

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Many thanks for taking the time to respond and thanks for your feedback.

 

ArtyMarty regards your question about bootloaders, we are currently talking to our device partners regards this and we’ll provide further information shortly. It is worth noting that historically, we do not make changes to manufacturer bootloader settings: if the bootloader is locked, we launch the device with a locked bootloader; if unlocked, we launch the device with an unlocked bootloader.


julianh72 with regards the two issues you mentioned I can advise the following:

a)     Due to the nature of the application and the services it uses, technically we were unable to enable the TelstraOne to be moved to the SD Card in this version. However we are looking at ways to reduce the memory footprint even further in future updates and use the SD card to store downloaded data to help with this. A technical breakdown of install locations and recommendations on where apps should be installed can be found here; http://developer.android.com/guide/appendix/install-location.html

b)      As mentioned in my previous post all future Android device OS updates from Telstra will give our customers much greater control over their devices and remove the non application Telstra links in the app tray. It’s also important to note that until you update the device with the new OS version, these links will still be visible in the app tray.

 


Hope this helps.

David Powell | GM Device Experience, Apps & OS

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Level 5: Eagle Eye

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

I hear what you are saying David, and see your point of view. 
This one is a little out of the ordinary though, as HTC only released two phones with locked bootloaders on Android, and the CEO of HTC has publicly stated that they probably should not have locked them in hindsight - so they are retroactively unlocking them.

A compelling reason for Telstra to pass that feature fix on to its clients.  As you would if HTC released a Android version/rom update.



Warmly, Marty

 

 

 

-=-=-=-=-
Passionate android user, tech geek and artist / jeweller.
NOT a Telstra Employee - Just a customer (only while they provide a service that meets my expectations and principals)
-=-=-=-=-
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Level 1: Cadet

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Hi David Powell,

 

I have a HTC Desire which I bought outright from Telstra about a year ago and I found this thread  through google while I was searching for a way to remove the Telstra bloatware. In fact I never could figure out why should I deal with applications that I could never use even if I wanted to? Because I'm on a plan from another carrier (thinking about getting a HTC Sensation on a plan from Telstra when my current contract will be over soon).

I just want to ask one question from David Powell, when it comes to making such decisions that affect your customers' experience directly why don't you just simply ask them? Maybe it was a difficult and expensive process to do few years ago but now, with all of these social networks and online forums why don't you simply make a survey with holding an online poll? Ask people, current and potential customers: "Are you happy to have any application on your phone uninstallable? Or you prefer to have everything unistallable?"

To me the result is more than obvious but if it's not to you, just ask and decide on numbers. As someone who's thinking about getting a service and product form Telstra I would be happy to see something like TelstraOne on my phone as a suggestion but only if I could uninstall it and install on my choice and not having someone else think for me and decide what is good for me to have on my phone, the phone that I have paid for more than many laptops these days.

 

Best Regards,

Vahid

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Level 8: Inspector

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

"if the bootloader is locked, we launch the device with a locked bootloader; if unlocked, we launch the device with an unlocked bootloader."

 

This is unacceptable. If the manufacturer intends for the bootloader to be unlocked, whether at launch, or a later decision deployed via update, Telstra should most certainly pass that on to the customer.

 

I challenge Telstra to give me one reason that NOT passing on this MANUFACTUER-BASED decision is a good thing for customers? It wont even affect a vast majority of customers; and those that decide to S-OFF and Root their devices and proceed to put custom ROMs on their phones, void their warranty anyway.

 

I'm also certain that is wont create more influx of customers trying to get assistance with their phones. If they are smart and technologically literate enough to root their phone in the first place, they wont require assistance; and if they are simply trying to score another phone because they accidentally bricked their current one, they would have tried to do so regardeless of the bootloader status.

 

The entire premise of Android is that you can make every single part of it, exactly how you want. For a Telco, which is merely a middle-man that provides the service that a manufacturer's device works in a customer's hands, to start filtering how said manufactuer wishes for their product to be experienced not only adds frustration across the board, but it further fragments the Android line-up, which, in turn, hurts Telstra's bottom line.

- eVowned
__________________________________________________

Currently running a stock HTC One XL, and a Galaxy Nexus with Jelly Bean.

Don't forget: a little Kudos goes a long way; and mark any replies as solved if they helped.
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Telstra (Retired)
Telstra (Retired)

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Hi all,

 

Thanks again for taking the time to respond, so that we can help in making things better.   

 

Evowned; I just wanted to clarify this statement: 

if the bootloader is locked, we launch the device with a locked bootloader; if unlocked, we launch the device with an unlocked bootloader 

This is also applicable to any future OS updates, maintenance releases, OTA updates, etc. So with this in mind, the scenario you describe, where a vendor decides down the track to provide an unlocked bootloader, this will be made available. I hope this addresses your concerns. If not, please let me know. 

 

vyaghini We decided to set up our own forum to make it easier for our customers to talk to us and for us to talk to them. It is hoped that this will help improve our products.

 

The reduction of the preloaded apps (and where supported by our device partners making them uninstallable) was a direct result of the feedback from customers. In all these cases, whilst you may not personally use these services, some of our customers do and it’s important that we consider every one.  It is a challenge to find the right balance between different groups of customers and we recognise that there is a real opportunity to fine tune this process. That is why we seek customer feedback to make informed decisions. We are hoping to get better at this as time goes on.

 

klaw81 with regards your comment about the new Telstra area within Android marketplace, can I please direct you to this post by my colleague Scott Taylor (http://crowdsupport.telstra.com/t5/Android/Not-impressed-with-the-Telstra-quot-hijacking-quot-of-the...) where he explains the reasoning on why we implemented this approach.

 

Thanks again, I really hope this helps and please let me know if there is anything else that I can do. 

 

David Powell | GM Device Experience, Apps & OS

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Level 2: Rookie

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Hi David

 

So going on with the theme of this thread, when is the gingerbread update going to be available for my Desire (that I got the day they were released)?

 

I am one of the many who want to remove the many Telstra apps (that I don't use) and from what I read here this functionality will be available with the gingerbread update as it's the original Desire's next software update.

 

Any idea when it's finally going to be available?  Could the delay be caused by compatibility issues with the pre-loaded Telstra apps?  Was originally a July release and is now August.

 

LOVE my Desire.  In our household we have it, an iPhone4 (work phone) and an N8 and both of us still like the Desire the most of the three.

 

cheers

 

pete

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Level 5: Eagle Eye

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Pete,

 

I had a HTC Desire (well still do actually, its sitting simmless on my desk right now).

Awesome phone.

If you don't mind rooting your phone, there are some custom roms out there that run gingerbread, and they are FAST. it will be like getting a new phone.  if you do a google search on "XDA"  (Android developer forum) and "baadnewz sense 3.0 rom desire" you will find some good reviews of his custom rom. (so you know its nothing dodgy) I am running his new custom rom for the HTC Sensation right now.

 

I will say and telstra will agree that rooting your phone is not supported by telstra (it will still work, but they cant help you with the actual phone if you have issues)

It may void your warranty, and if something goes wrong, it might 'brick' your phone (ie turn it into something about as useful as a brick) - however unlikely if you follow instructions..    and the members on the xda form are very willing to help if you have questions - as long as you have read the guides first as 99% of issues and problems are easy fixed if people could actually read.

 

So.  Could be an option for you.  These roms do some tricky things with your phone to get them working much faster and better than the software (including updates) that HTC provide.

 

That said, back up your data, contacts etc first.!!!

 

I also have to say that the HTC sensation is sooooo good.    Its so much faster than my Desire - and my desire had a custom rom so I shudder to think how slow yours is right now. - not having a dig at you , just some empathy.

 

Anyway, the people on this forum seem friendly and hear to help so if you have questions, just ask!

 

Marty

 

-=-=-=-=-
Passionate android user, tech geek and artist / jeweller.
NOT a Telstra Employee - Just a customer (only while they provide a service that meets my expectations and principals)
-=-=-=-=-
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Level 2: Rookie

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

cheers Marty. 

 

I'll wait until the end of August and if no sign of the update may well give your suggestion a go!

 

pete

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Level 21: Augmented

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware


@ArtyMarty wrote:

If you don't mind rooting your phone, there are some custom roms out there that run gingerbread, 


there is actually an official Gingerbread update for the Desire on the HTC developer site now, runs from an exe, no rooting required

http://www.htcdev.com/devcenter/downloads

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Statistically, three out of five people are not the other two
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Level 5: Eagle Eye

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware


@jokiin wrote:

@ArtyMarty wrote:

If you don't mind rooting your phone, there are some custom roms out there that run gingerbread, 


there is actually an official Gingerbread update for the Desire on the HTC developer site now, runs from an exe, no rooting required

http://www.htcdev.com/devcenter/downloads

 

That is great to hear, and its probably the safest way to do things, but I have to say that the main issue with the desire, is it running out of working ram (memory) and the only way to solve that is to root it, and make a separate partition on your SDHC memory card for it to use..  

I know it might sound a bit complcated  for some of the readers here, however there are a lot of step by step guides, and it makes the phone FLY...

 

That sort of trickery is not something HTC can do 'autoimatically' so they dont offer the option..

 

but the gingerbread update on HTC site will be a big leap forward too....  if anyone does it, let everyone else know what you think of it!  Smiley Happy

 

 

Marty

 

-=-=-=-=-
Passionate android user, tech geek and artist / jeweller.
NOT a Telstra Employee - Just a customer (only while they provide a service that meets my expectations and principals)
-=-=-=-=-
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Level 2: Rookie

gingerbread update on HTC dev site

interesting T&C and FAQ...  will I risk it?

 

Android 2.3 Update for HTC Desire

This update is only recommended for expert users who want to experience Android 2.3 and understand the limitations which apply to this update. Due to memory constraints several applications have been removed from this update and we are only offering the ROM upgrade utility (RUU) for you to download. Please note that flashing this ROM will erase your previous customizations, including any messages, emails, contacts, and other personal information. We suggest you take advantage of your Google account and other backup solutions available on the Android Market to ensure you do not lose your personal data. Your SD card will not be erased or modified.

The major changes in this update include:

  1. All customizations, including operator applications, will be removed.
  2. All wallpapers, except the default wallpaper, will be removed and placed on the HTC Developer website.
  3. Several HTC applications will be removed and placed on the HTC Developer website.
  4. The official Facebook application will be removed and is downloadable on the Android Market.

Included in the .zip file:

  1. Official HTC wallpapers
  2. Official HTC applications: Teeter, Flashlight
  3. Official HTC Desire Android 2.3 ROM upgrade utility
  4. Instructions for the ROM upgrade utility.

Note: This ROM update is for development only and not for general public use. Upgrades to non-compatible variants of HTC Desire (listed below) may result in loss of functionality and certain functions may no longer be usable after re-flashing the ROM, including but not limited to MMS and SMS. HTC and Operators disclaim liability for unusable functions, the loss and/or leakage of any personal data resulting from the re-flashing of the ROM.

Exclusions: The following regional variants are not-compatible with this upgrade: Germany (Deutsch Telekom), North America, South America, South Korea, Japan, Turkey, and Arabic language speaking countries in the Middle East.

  1. Is this the official update for HTC Desire to Gingerbread?
    Yes, this is the official update for HTC Desire to Gingerbread.
  2. Will this release remove the ability to send SMS / MMS like in the disclaimer?
    Only certain regions, specifically the ones listed below, will have some functionality removed. For the majority of regions, there is no impact to your SMS / MMS functionality.
  3. Why is this only for developers?
    Due to the complicated nature of the update we suggest only expert users proceed. We have provided the update in as user friendly way as possible and also included the instructions in the download file but we were unable to provide the update by our usual over the air method.
  4. When can I download the upgrade for my phone?
    You can still access the download at http://htcdev.com for the upgrade for your phone, unless you are in the regions listed below.
  5. Will HTC issue an over the air (FOTA) for HTC Desire update to Gingerbread?
    No, this downloadable RUU is the official update to your phone. The update required that we conserve space by removing customizations and wallpapers, we had to release the update as a downloadable update.
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Level 5: Eagle Eye

Re: gingerbread update on HTC dev site

... personally, I would root it instead...

 

The reason HTC has to strip things down, is because there is not enough memory on the phone to hold the apps  and operating system etc.

The Apps and operating system will also not run correctly when moved to your SD memory card. (I wont go into the technical reasons here unless you ask)

 

HOWEVER

 

If you have a 8gb or bigger sd card (4gb will just do i guess), when the phone is rooted, you can set aside part of the sd card space (say 1gb of it) in a separate area that the phone CAN use as 'extra memory' for apps and operating system.

 

Not only does this give you more memory for apps and the operating system, it makes the phone run much faster because it is not freaking out that there is not enough memory...

 

I would ask around on the forums, and find out if you CAN root your phone after this new update from HTC (Some times these updates prevent rooting)

If you can, then you have nothing to lose, try the new update, if you don't like it, root your phone and try that.

 

Just don't back yourself into a spot you cant get out of!  Smiley Happy

 

(disclaimer - rooting your phone might void your warranty and break your phone... however unlikely)

 

Warmly, Marty

-=-=-=-=-
Passionate android user, tech geek and artist / jeweller.
NOT a Telstra Employee - Just a customer (only while they provide a service that meets my expectations and principals)
-=-=-=-=-
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Level 1: Cadet

Re: gingerbread update on HTC dev site

BUT - not that it's mentioned anywhere other than some Android forums - if you do upgrade and you find it's not to your liking, there's no way to 'downgrade' back to Froyo other than 'rooting' your phone and this can become complicated if you're not to familiar with the process and know how to bypass the extra security features built into Gingerbread. You may end up with a 'brick'. 

 

Have a read of the various android forums before you try.

 

Battery life can vary also. I found that by de-activating the Quick Restart option, my battery life improved considerably once I was able to do a proper re-boot and free what ever app was causing the problem.

 

Other than that, I find it noticeably quicker with less lag and improved memory management.

 

Have fun

R

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Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: gingerbread update on HTC dev site

Myself being another Original Desire owner would prefer if Telstra just removed all it's bloatware - Or at the minimum made it uninstallable.

 

Sad to see my phone "Telstra-ized" when it should be a option not a compulsorary impediment!!

 

It has certainly made me think about my next phone option...

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Level 1: Cadet

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

Mate!

 

just buy an iphone!

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Level 4: Private Eye

Re: An open letter to Telstra: Please stop the Android bloatware

I want things the other way LOL....

 

I want Google maps and locator services removed, - to be replaced with Whereis maps.

I want Tribe to be more like a) HTTP://0.facebook or b) the Facebook app, with check-in ability. and still able to do twitter and other social sites and turned into an actual app instead of a bookmark.

 

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