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Crapware Banished On Windows Phone 7

In recent years Microsoft has let carriers and OEMs do just about anything they want with Windows Mobile phones they make and sell. In an effort to make sure the carrier logo is in your face as much as possible, lock you into their specific services or just make a dime by contracting with a third party, phones would often come with tons of unnecessary trial or full blown software, which users know as crapware. Microsoft is trying to put an end to it.
In recent years Microsoft has let carriers and OEMs do just about anything they want with Windows Mobile phones they make and sell. In an effort to make sure the carrier logo is in your face as much as possible, lock you into their specific services or just make a dime by contracting with a third party, phones would often come with tons of unnecessary trial or full blown software, which users know as crapware. Microsoft is trying to put an end to it.Windows Phone 7 licensing requirements will be much more strict. WinMo 6.x phones often have a reputation of being sluggish or bloated, but that isn't always the fault of the OS. In fact, it rarely is. Custom UIs and applets are installed by the carrier and OEM that load up the device, taking storage space and hogging precious processing power. I just looked on my Verizon HTC Touch Pro and counted 15 apps that aren't part of Windows Mobile. More than one are duplicating functionality built into WinMo itself, like ClearVue Presentation 5 Pro. A fine app I'm sure, but most people are good with PowerPoint Mobile.

According to a post at XDA Developers, Microsoft has laid down some rules. I'm not sure what their source is, but the folks at XDA Developers tend to have an inside track to this type of information. So, let's get to the rules.

  • Maximum of 6 preloaded applications on the device, not to exceed 60MB
  • All preloaded apps must pass Marketplace submission process (some extended APIs are available to OEM/MO so the process is slightly relaxed in that regard)
  • The applications and all future updates must be free of charge.
  • The apps must launch without dependency on network availability. (Say goodbye to proprietary mapping apps that require $10 monthly fees!)
  • The apps must persist through a "hard reset". (I actually wish they didn't so they could be purged, but I get the requirement.)
  • The apps must be updatable and revocable through the Marketplace. (Nice. So if MS finds a problem with the app that causes performance or other problems on the device, they can yank it.)
  • The apps must notify the user at first launch of any capabilities to be utilized and get user consent

There has been no one thing wrong with Windows Mobile these past few years, just a bunch of issues of various sizes that contributed to the black eye the mobile platform has. Microsoft has taken care of a number of them with Windows Phone 7. These new rules will remove one more thing that has made the end user experience less than ideal. Kudos to them for taking control again.