Nexus 6 sold by AT&T does have branding along with minimal yet removable bloatware11
The next, less ignorable indication this is not a device sourced from Google Play is encountered when you turn the Nexus 6 on. Immediately following the classic Google logo, a bright white splash screen and blue AT&T logo appear with the company’s four tone jingle.
After that, everything returns to normal, but for the seasoned gadget geek, it begs the question, if the branding is more than skin deep did the Nexus 6 get filled to the brim with all sorts of nasty bloatware? Even more concerning, can those apps be removed? The answer to the first questions is no, the Nexus 6 does not come out of the box toting a lot of junk in the trunk.
On the unit we picked up today from a local AT&T outlet in Northern California, there were but two branded apps installed on the device. The first is myAT&T, the company’s customer app for billing and account information. The second one is called AT&T Live, a news and content aggregator powered by Yahoo!. That is all there is in the department of bloat, and for what they are, those two apps are not bad at their respective functions. Combined, they take up a little more than 21MB of space, but the good news is that if you do not want them on your device, you can remove them with no problems at all. AT&T also confirmed with us that the device is unlocked out of the box as well.
Does that keep this new Google phablet a “purist’s Nexus?” We would have to argue that answer as “no.” The experience of “stock Android” is definitely present, but that little bit of gerry-rigging in the start-up sequence removes a bit of what makes Nexus special.
That said, one might also argue that AT&T could have been a lot more invasive with getting its brand into the device, and even lock some apps down. It looks like these “auto installed” apps may yield to customer will after all. Now, who wants to make wagers on what Verizon will be doing with its offering of the Nexus 6 once it is available?