You'll notice in just about every non-Nexus device review we've done over there past few years that there are comments about the pre-installed apps that come on these device, and we've always wondered why they're there and who really uses them. Turns out the answer to the second part of that question is "just about nobody." Strategy Analytics dug into their AppOptix data to look at the usage patterns of real world more than 250 users of the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy S4, and found that usage of Samsung's custom apps on these devices lags far behind that of Google's apps.
This is in spite of Samsung's efforts to promote these apps, which have seen considerable play in their marketing efforts. Strategy Analytics found that the average Galaxy S3 user in their study group logged 6.2 minutes of total use over an entire month of Samsung's signature ChatON, Group Play, S Memo, S Voice, Samsung Apps, Samsung Hub, and Samsung Link — combined. Galaxy S4 use of these same apps was only slightly higher, totaling 9.3 minutes total in a month.
A small selection of similar Google apps logged significantly higher use, with around an hour a month spent in the Google Play Store, half an hour in Google Search, and about two hours a month in YouTube.
We know that we've rarely used these apps, and the apps that other manufacturers have loaded onto our phones. There's a reason we call them "bloatware" — these apps take up a tremendous about of space. On the Samsung Galaxy S5, the customizations to Android and the custom Samsung apps take up nearly 8GB of space.
So this leaves us with an important question: If nobody's using these apps — and surely the manufacturers know that from their own built-in usage trackers — why do Samsung, LG, HTC, and everybody else bother to begin with?