Bloatware Face-Off 2

December 27, 2014

In Bloatware Face-Off, I compared the unwanted apps on a Verizon-branded HTC-made Android phone with a Nexus 4. The outcome was that the Nexus line cut down significantly on the amount of shit on my phone - from 26 unwanted apps to 11. Due to an unfortunate pool accident, this summer I purchased both a Moto G (2013 LTE edition) and a Moto X (2013 Developer Edition). On the plus side, Android now lets you disable system apps, so it’s easy to see what I considered unwanted. They’re still installed, taking up storage space, but at least you don’t have to see them anymore. Let’s see how they stack up against the current champion:

Challenger 1: Moto G (1st Gen, LTE)

Purchased from Amazon. Currently running KitKat (4.4.4). (System version “21.11.56.peregrine_retus.retus.en.US retus” if you want to be really specific.) Applications in the Disabled list:

Challenger 2: Moto X (1st Gen, Developer Edition)

Purchased from Motorola’s website. Currently running KitKat (4.4.4). (System version “213.44.1.ghost_row.Retail.en.US” if you want to be really specific.) Applications in the Disabled list:


Moto G: 9 Moto X: 9

This is absolutely stunning. These were not Nexus phones. They were not even “Google Play Edition” phones. These were standard unlocked phones purchased through normal retail channels. And not only did they beat the previous record of 11 unwanted apps, but 7 of those 9 remaining apps are from Google, not Motorola. The few places where Motorola did add their own apps (Alert and Assist, for example) are genuinely useful and add features not included in stock Android. More amazingly, both of those apps are available on the G as well, which lacks the special coprocessor of the X.

There are two amazing conclusions here. One, an OEM has skinned Android, but improved the experience. (My only complaint is Motorola swaps out the Camera app, and does not include photosphere in their replacement.) And two, the cleanest, least bloated Android phone you can purchase today does not say “Nexus” on it.