Samsung's Galaxy S6 may unbundle the bloatware to win buyers back

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Credit: Mike Homnick

Samsung may go easy on the bloatware in its Galaxy S6 as the company tries to revitalize its sagging smartphone business.

Unnamed sources tell SamMobile that Samsung’s next flagship won’t have nearly as much pre-loaded software as previous Galaxy phones. Instead, Samsung will reportedly offer these apps and features as optional downloads. There’s no word on exactly which apps Samsung plans to cut, but SamMobile speculates that a handful of core apps like S Health will remain on board.

This isn’t the first report of leaner software from Samsung . A couple weeks ago, a source told BusinessKorea that Samsung was aiming to “get rid of unnecessary functions” and have a simpler interface “at the level of Google’s Nexus 6.”

Google’s Nexus phones run stock Android with no additional software from the phone maker. While additional features from phone makers aren’t always a bad thing—see Motorola’s Moto X, for example—phones that hew closer to stock Android typically run smoother and receive faster updates. Pre-loading less software also frees up more storage space for things that the user actually wants.

The story behind the story: Although Samsung is still the largest Android phone maker, it has struggled mightily over the last year as sales and profits have plummeted. Its flagship Galaxy S5 phone lags behind the previous model. Rival Apple’s sales have soared, and LG has achieved its own sales records with the flagship G3. In emerging markets, Samsung is getting squeezed by competitors like Huawei, Lenovo, and Xiaomi, all of which posted big gains last year.

All of these trends set the stage for a big reboot from Samsung, with company executives admitting that they need to “fundamentally reform” their product portfolio. Software would be a great place to start, given that people hardly use Samsung’s bloatware to begin with.

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