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Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Tab: Why can't I uninstall those apps?

Consumer Reports News: November 12, 2010 11:23 AM

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Samsung Galaxy Tab
Photo: Samsung

I've had a brief time to work with the Samsung Galaxy Tab press samples we recently received. The versions for Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon all seem very much alike, with just minor differences.

One thing they all have in common, however, is that each has a few pre-installed apps that I can't uninstall.

For the Sprint model, those apps include Free Games, Kindle, and Facebook. On the T-Mobile model, I couldn't uninstall a game called Asphalt5, Kindle, or Slacker. And on the Verizon model, I couldn't uninstall Blockbuster, Kindle, or Slacker.

This disabling of the uninstall function reminds of the very same practice I recently discovered on the Verizon Droid 2 and Droid X smart phones.

A Verizon spokeswoman told me in October that the company was reconsidering this practice of disabling uninstall for non-critical third-party apps. Since Verizon—along with Sprint and T-Mobile—is now continuing this practice on its first Android tablet, it's safe to say that Verizon hasn't yet decided to permit consumers to fully manage the apps on tablets that they own.

When I spoke with the Verizon spokeswoman last month, she defended the practice, in part, on the grounds that the Droid was a phone, not a computer, and that locking up phones was a traditional practice in the phone industry.

Here's some news for Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon: A tablet is a computer, not a phone. And in the 30-year history of personal computers, the tradition is to let consumers control their own equipment. It's time for wireless providers and any other party involved to stop disabling features on their mobile products.

Do you agree or disagree? Weigh in below.

—Jeff Fox

Jeffrey Fox

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