MOBILE NETWORK OPERATOR Vodafone has managed to annoy its HTC Desire users by pushing out a load of bloatware and links to adult websites onto their smartphones.
Subscribers were looking forward to receiving an update that would bump them up to Android 2.2 but instead got one that was just a modified version of Android 2.1 with a load of Vodafone branding. Not surprisingly the update - which amounts to a waste of time, bandwidth and system resources - has annoyed users who were expecting new features, not a load of warmed over tosh.
Yesterday the firm promoted the update by saying that it "gives customers access to Vodafone 360 products and services, which brings the experience on the Desire in line with other devices supplied by Vodafone. This means that customers have the choice to use 360 services as they wish to."
As for users' wishes not to have Vodafone 360 services? Well that's a quite simple No. "It is not currently possible for the customisations to be uninstalled from the device," said the firm. This has led to numerous posts on the company's forum asking for Vodafone to roll back the update.
The complaints are not solely about users wanting unbranded software. Many are complaining that the update pushes "adult bookmarks" to devices, something that will surely have parents concerned. Others complain that Vodafone's bloatware has managed to bog down the HTC Desire, a phone that has a 1GHz Snapdragon chip that can play back high-definition video quite well.
With the Android 2.1 OS not allowing installation of applications on removable memory, Vodafone's applications, some of which aren't even in English, have left some with little spare memory to use their device. Other trifling matters include the messaging application becoming almost useless and SMS messages being duplicated.
Vodafone is apparently taking note of the comments though it has not said when it will release Android 2.2 for its subscribers. Those subscribers must be wondering whether that update, when it finally tips up, will be laden with the same sort of bloat and smutware as found in this release.
A reader has informed us that it is not only HTC Desire users that have been burnt by Vodafone, with those using HTC's Legend handset receiving a similarly useless update. While the handset might be different, the bloatware is identical.
Our informant, justifiably peeved that his phone has basically become a Vodafone branded brick, tried to contact the firm's customer support only to be fobbed off with the following message, 24 hours later.
"There are certainly various examples of changes as a result of the firmware update, as always we collect feedback and note any queries regarding what has been resolved or any pending issues."
Allow us to translate for English speaking folk. "You can tell us what you think but we don't care." That's certainly the feeling that customers who pay handsomely for a phone and a multi-year contract are getting from dealings with the company over the phone and on forums.
If you have had issues with your HTC smartphone on Vodafone thanks to dodgy software updates, please do let us know in the comments. µ
We round up the top 10 stories from the past seven days
For when you just can't take another long lunch break
Control your Android TV from an iOS device? Um, no
Somebody call the irony police