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This article was published on August 12, 2010

Vodafone bows to pressure, removes branded Android update

Vodafone bows to pressure, removes branded Android update
Martin Bryant
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Martin Bryant

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Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

Vodafone is making compulsory carrierware a thing of the past on one of its Android handsets in the UK after protests from users.

The network caused a minor storm last week when it rolled out a software update for the HTC Desire handsets that forced users to endure a variety of ‘Vodafone 360′ branded apps and services.

Unaware of the update’s contents, many customers downloaded the update under the impression that it was their handset’s update to Android 2.2 Froyo. Instead they found their phones still on 2.1 but with additional Vodafone-branded content and dating sites bookmarked on their phones. Vodafone claimed this would “Optimise customers’ experience”.

Now Vodafone has told the BBC that when it does push out the Froyo update for the Desire, it will wipe away all trace of the offending software, offering the vanilla HTC Sense-enabled version of Froyo. Customers can expect the update in “Seven to ten days”. Those who want the Vodafone 360 software will be able to add it as an option install at a later date.

While it’s good to see Vodafone bowing to customer demand, it does indicate a wider trend. Mobile users used to accept carrier-branded phone ‘experiences’ as standard. Is the tide beginning to turn?