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From bloat +‎ -ware, originally in the sense “unwieldy software”. The sense “pre-installed software” has become predominant since the 2010s.


bloatware (uncountable)

  1. (computing, informal) Software that is packed with too many features and therefore slow or unwieldy; software that is inefficiently designed and occupies an excessive amount of memory or disk space.
    Synonym: fatware
    • 1996 February 12, Ed Foster, “Passing the bloatware buck: Programmers finger deadlines, driven bosses”, in InfoWorld, page 58:
      Today’s software development cycle does not allow time to optimize and refine products, and that leads to bloatware.
    • 2001, Glenn E. Weadock, Upgrading Your Home PC, →ISBN, page 16:
      That’s not really a surprise, considering that writing efficient software takes more time than writing wasteful code. “Bloatware” makes economic sense for software developers, if not for consumers!
    • 2001 March 23, Joel Spolsky, “Strategy Letter IV: Bloatware and the 80/20 Myth”, in Joel on Software; republished as Joel on Software [], 2004, →ISBN, page 277:
      I’ll bet you think I’m going to write one of those boring articles you see all over the net bemoaning “bloatware.” Whine whine whine, this stuff is so bloated, oh woe is me, edlin and vi are so much better than Word and Emacs because they are svelte, etc.
  2. (computing) Unwanted pre-installed software, especially on a smartphone.
    Synonym: crapware
    • 2017, Haroon Elahi, Guojun Wang, Xu Li, “Smartphone Bloatware: An Overlooked Privacy Problem”, in Guojun Wang et al., editors, Security, Privacy, and Anonymity in Computation, Communication, and Storage, →ISBN, page 170:
      Bloatware has also introduced numerous security and trust issues in smartphones. [] OEMs, third-party app providers, telecommunication operators, and malicious parties have used bloatware apps to over-collect user data.
    • 2018, Luzhou Nina Li, “Android App Stores and the Appification of Everything”, in Jeremy Wade Morris, Sarah Murray, editors, Appified: Culture in the Age of Apps, →ISBN, page 46:
      Most phones had preinstalled Android stores and bloatware built in by manufacturers, but workers would still choose to install third-party marketplaces like Tencent MyApp, Baidu 91 Mobile Assistance, and Qihoo 360 Mobile Assistants.
    • 2018, Shawn Mankad, Shengli Hu, Anandasivam Gopal, “Single state prediction with embedded topic modeling of online reviews for mobile app management”, in The Annals of Applied Statistics, volume 12, number 4, →JSTOR, page 2297:
      [] samsung should stop adding crap bloatware [] i never use such app[sic] and i dont need it”


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