The AT&T release of the Nexus 6 will have AT&T apps – but not right out of the box. Instead, according to an AT&T representative, the Nexus 6 as carried by AT&T will download AT&T apps the first time you connect to the Google Play app store. Every single one of these apps will be able to be un-installed if you wish. This is a new feature with Android 5.0 Lollipop – the ability to push carrier downloads to your device through the Google Play app store.
You won’t have AT&T apps at first – just once you attach your phone to the Google Play app store. And only then if you really want them.
This feature was spoken about near the end of October as VP of engineering for the Android platform and Nexus devices Dave Burke, VP of product management Brian Rakowski, and Android group product manager Gabe Cohen explained Android Lollipop in-depth. Android Lollipop and the Automatic Carrier App Updates let it be known that this would be a feature in Android 5.0 Lollipop, but that it wasn’t necessarily going to be happening for every device released after Lollipop was put out in the wild.
It’ll likely be months before any device besides the Google Nexus lineup is released with Android 5.0 Lollipop aboard out of the box, anyway.
So with the Nexus 6, instead of your AT&T carrier-branded apps being part of the device, un-installable because they’re part of the system partition, they’re downloaded separately. Like any other Nexus 6 (most of them, anyway), you’ll still have a Vanilla Android experience.
Because they’re downloaded separately, you can un-install the lot of them whenever you like, if you like.
Now, whether or not any carrier uses this ability outside of the Nexus smartphone line – that’s a different question entirely. For now we’ll go ahead and guess that only Nexus devices will see this feature in play.