I couldn't believe it when I read about it, thought there had to be some mistake. No, it's actually happening though, say goodbye to two of the PS Vita's apps, and look for less in one other. What has to be considered a huge step backwards, at least to me, Sony is removing the Youtube and Google Maps apps, and cutting features from the NEAR app. Seems like the opposite of the news you want to hear regarding the Vita and it's features.
With the option of having 3G removed from the later models of the Vita, the Google Maps app became a bit less useful on the go. Wi-Fi, not being available everywhere, really limited it's use when traveling around. I, on the other hand, still use my 3G model(and have even searched around and purchased it more than once) and have been saved many times from being lost by this great app. I admit it does have it's faults, such as seemingly getting totally confused as to where you are at times, but it did function for the most part and got the job done. While there is another map app in the mobile section of the PS Store, it really doesn't compare as you can't use it for getting directions. I'm sad to see this useful feature being taken away from us, and it makes me wonder what's next.
Oh, we already know what's next. The Youtube app is also being taken away, and while you can still use the web browser to view the site, I really liked the app for quick use. This isn't a huge deal since I already use the web browser for Facebook, seeing as the Vita app for that has been broken for some time now, but again, the point is removing apps is not the direction we want to see Sony. I do wonder though, why Youtube? I mean, it's already available, why bother?
Finally we have changes to the NEAR app. Now, this one is kind of a hit and miss for me. I use it when I remember, which isn't often, and it never really did much anyways. The problem I have with it was I was hoping Sony would actually be adding to it rather than taking away from it. Location data and the map functions are being removed, other than that, it seems all else will stay the same. Except those were really pretty much all it did besides the gift thing. I really wanted to see this app become more social, maybe alerting you to near by players or adding some social networking features to it. What's funny about it, is whenever I did use it, there was always a "surge in popularity" of the Youtube app.... hmmm.
While I will miss the map app, the features being removed aren't a big deal, it's the fact that anything is being removed period. Here I am still waiting for a Vine app, or something similar to make use of the video recording feature, a Snapchat or decent, working Tumblr app to make me want to use the camera. ANYTHING, I mean, even fix the Facebook app(I haven't been able to view messages since the last update). Considering they never bothered to fix the Flickr app(crashes every other upload), I guess I was expecting a bit too much.
With features being taken out, and been taken out, my biggest worry(and this may just be me) is discontinuing whatever deal they have with AT&T allowing to provide the 3G service entirely. I use my Vita everywhere, and that requires being able to get online all the time. I have been even using the Skype app as my phone lately, seeing as I'd rather carry my Vita around than my phone. I like to be able to connect anywhere, which is why I was, and still am willing to pay the extra cash for the earlier 3G models. Yes, you can argue that it was old news when the Vita was released, with the whole 4G thing, but it was an option, an option I feel was a mistake to take out to begin with(I don't know who has WiFi where ever they go, but I don't), and I'm afraid if Sony cuts their ties with the AT&T service, I'll be saying goodbye to the world of the PS Vita, being able to stay connected on a portable device is a huge deal. I'm a man, I don't carry a purse, and I'm afraid with the increasing sizes of phones, I'm not carrying around two giant devices, there can only be one.
Maybe there is a master plan that we, the players, just can't comprehend. Maybe Sony has this all figured out and we just can't see it. All I know is that whether it be the PS Vita or the Playstation T.V, we need MORE apps and uses, not less. While these features being removed don't affect the devices too much(though I do think having a map on a portable device might just be handy), it's like I said earlier, it's the fact that things are being taken away from us which is the exact opposite of what we have been asking for. I guess we got that calendar way back then, oh, and don't forget themes, cause looking on the store they are really putting effort into those.... I love the games, don't get me wrong, but look at what you are holding in your hand, it can and should be so much more, yet I can't help looking at my dusty PSPs sitting in the corner and worrying just a little.