updated 03:15 pm EST, Mon January 23, 2012
Bundled KDDI au app ads without much choice
Japanese carrier KDDI has underscored some of the problems of Android by pushing ads into Android itself, customers have found for themselves. A bundled, unremovable app for the company's own app store, au one Market, pushes ads into the notification bar whether or not the app is running, Asiajin said. While there appears to be an opt-out clause, one subscriber reports that it's downplayed and has seen it appear twice with app updates.
No official response yet exists from KDDI. The app is technically removable, but would require a root or other unofficial code that most of KDDI's user base wouldn't be familiar or comfortable with.
The policy underscores the problems with Google's current policies towards Android, which claim openness but let carriers and hardware manufacturers lock down the platform and have no protection for real users. Without a rule requiring that apps must be either core to the OS or uninstallable, as on the iPhone or Windows Phone, carriers can load involuntary ads and require that they stay. Microsoft has policies limiting how much a carrier can customize the app loadout on Windows Phone; Apple allows third-party apps only from those that the user chose to install.
Typically, the only guaranteed way to get a largely or completely unaltered Android experience is to opt for a reference phone with Google's blessing, such as the Galaxy Nexus, and thus come closer to the iPhone and Windows Phone models. [via Engadget]