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Vodafone pulls 360 trick on Froyo hungry users

While T-Mobile tells them to learn German

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Android updates are causing problems again, with Vodafone trying to foist 360 apps on users while T-Mobile does much the same thing, only in German.

Most of those with with an Android handset are waiting to get a Froyo (2.2) update, which promises higher speeds and greater stability, as well as the long-awaited support for Adobe Flash. But for Vodafone it's another opportunity to remind customers who really owns the phone in their pocket, and for T-Mobile a chance to spread the German language a little further.

T-Mobile customers got Froyo with their update to the HTC Desire, but for some it also brought a handful of branded applications - in German. But at least T-Mobile is addressing the issue, and users don't seem very bothered by having to use the "Mediencenter" and "Navigon", unlike those over at Vodafone who got the operator-branded apps, but not the update.

Vodafone customers with a Samsung Galaxy S were notified about a new update a few days before the promised delivery of Froyo. But those who've downloaded it have discovered the operator repeating its HTC Desire trick: installing a bundle of Vodafone branding, and branded applications, none of which can be removed.

Last time the operator recanted and issued a replacement update that removed the variant apps and branding. That was appreciated, but makes it all the more remarkable that it's tried the same thing again:

"Unfortunately the Vodafone update that you have received cannot be removed. However I understand how you feel about this and will feed this back to the powers that be just as we did with the feedback we received with the HTC Desire update," says a posting from Vodafone support chap Wayne. "I cannot promise that the same thing will happen but we will do our very best to let people know how you feel regarding this." Very supportive, but hardly presenting a unified corporate message.

The update includes a (poorly animated) Vodafone splash screen, a couple of trial games and applications providing access to Vodafone 360 services including the app and music stores, but critically there's no sign of the upgrade to Android 2.2 (Froyo), which isn't due for a few days yet.

Vodafone is pretty much obliged to push out 360 software to everyone it can these days, having poured so much money into the service that was supposed to create a future for the company as a content provider. The Vodafone 360 handsets have disappeared, leaving Android users the only hope for a service that few of them have even heard of. Pushing out applications to users is still the most efficient way to get them used, but one that must be measured against the annoyance caused - something that obviously still needs some work on Vodafone's part. ®

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