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Verizon wants to push even more bloatware to your Android phone

There are a myriad of things to do when you first start up your shiny new Android phone. You have to add your accounts, set up security features, and get rid of all that bloatware. At some point in the future, Verizon customers might find that bloatware sneaks back onto the device, and it could bring its friends. The carrier has reportedly been shopping a plan to advertisers that would include pushing bloatware apps to phones it has already sold.

Verizon activates millions of Android-powered phones and tablets every quarter, so the opportunity for the carrier to make some extra cash is substantial. The idea was pitched to retailers and finance companies starting late last year. According to a report from Advertising Age, Verizon was shopping around a rate of $1-2 per device. That’s tens of millions in new revenue every year for very little work on the carrier’s end. It would, however, have to deal with an almost inevitable PR nightmare. The instant the first sponsored app shows up on a phone, people will rightly be up in arms.

Bloatware on a new phone is nothing new — it has been an ongoing issue ever since the first Android phones landed on carriers. Verizon has been an especially heavy abuser of application pre-loading by including its own duplicative services like Messaging+, Go90 video streaming, Slacker Radio, and VZ Navigator. In years past, you’d have to stare at bloatware in your app drawer forever because they were on the system partition, but in Android 4.0 Google added the ability to disable system apps that can’t be uninstalled. The answer, obviously, is for Verizon to just push more bloat to the phone, right?

section-two.0This isn’t the first time carriers have toyed with the idea of pushing sponsored content to phones after selling them. A few years ago both Verizon and T-Mobile were in hot water for pre-loading a service called DT Ignite that could be used to install such apps remotely in the background. T-Mobile eventually backed off, but Verizon has still been including the service on phones. In fact, the Verizon Galaxy S7 recently had DT Ignite added in a system update. Could this be part of the carrier’s advertising plan?

Apps delivered in this way should be uninstallable, but it would still be quite an annoyance; like pulling weeds. As soon as you get rid of the junk, another app could show up. When you consider many of these phones cost you hundreds of dollars (plus what you’re paying for service), the idea that Verizon would start pushing additional junk software on you to make a few extra bucks is ludicrous.

Verizon has yet to respond to requests for comment. Hopefully cooler heads prevailed and the carrier opted not to pursue this plan. However, it looks like the tools are in place to start pushing sponsored apps to you at any time.

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