Your next Android phone’s lock screen might be filled with ads

A screenshot of the Glance website

Glance displays dynamic content on the lock screen. But who asked for it?
screenshot: View

While it’s true that the Android lock screen could use a little pep talk since Apple uncovered what it does for iOS isn’t what we thought it would be. Corresponding TechCrunchMobile advertising company Glance plans to roll out its lockscreen platform to Android devices in the US within the next two months.

According to the report, Glance has been in talks with US wireless carriers and plans to launch on multiple smartphones as early as next month. TechCrunch’s source is a person “familiar with the matter” who requested anonymity as “deliberations are ongoing and private.”

Glance did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment, and we’ll update this post when we receive feedback.

Glance is a subsidiary of InMobi, a mobile marketing platform based in India. It has been called India’s first unicorn startup because of his fundraising success. It even managed to win Google over as an investor few years back.

Glance comes preinstalled on a large number of Android devices abroad, including Samsung’s budget smartphones. It’s not an Android app in the traditional sense, meaning you can hop over to the Google Play Store and download it. Instead, it rests on top of the Android operating system as an overlay of sorts. Glance is also a key part of Pragati OS, a custom version of Android developed between Google and Jio for affordable smartphones like this Jio phone next.

Glance exists primarily as a dynamic lock screen. As soon as you turn on the phone screen, you will see updated content, such as B. a different background image, headlines and videos. But it also displays ads, and while they’re not emblazoned on the screen like the internet’s pop-up ads were yesterday, they’re so annoying you can pop up quickly message blackboard Threads of users trying this disable the ability. I even came across this Realme India while browsing for this story support account on Twitter apologizes for not being able to completely disable Glance.

While you can unlock the phone to bypass the content, Glance is programmed to let you keep scrolling to interact with different panels that contain content you might actually want, like news and original videos. Aside from its captive audience approach, the company seems to think it has potential with a model that entices you to stay for a while. Earlier this year, Glance started an Android TV experience for Indian customers that promises users the ability to “directly interact with their favorite stars on their TV home screens in real-time.”

Despite the perceived success in other parts of the world, it is worrying that Glance is targeting the United States. Low-end and mid-range device users have already lost out when purchasing a smartphone through a carrier. The offered phone models tend to be underperforming and delay important software updates. Imagine having to deal with all that in addition to bloatware ads and unwanted content that you cannot unbundle or disable.

Nothing has been officially announced by Glance, but the existence of ads on Android smartphones has become a real problem in recent years. To offer an anecdote, I’ve been using the OnePlus 9 since last summer, and the company’s official app is constantly pushing actions and such in the notification shade. The same has happened to some Samsung devices, which showed ads that popped up across the company’s stock apps, including Samsung Health and the Galaxy Store. Luckily, there’s a fix in Android 13 that blocks all unwanted pings in the pull-down notification shade once you install an app, but that doesn’t address the core issue.

If more companies find that users are willing to tolerate this kind of forced advertising, it could hurt the Android platform’s already tarnished reputation. That could be good news for Apple, which has managed to maintain parity on iOS between the “cheaper” models of the iPhone and its latest marquee devices while gaining market share. Google is primarily in the ad business and the Android platform is at least partly about the data collection that supports ad targeting. Urging users to invest in an Apple phone that isn’t riddled with bloatware could be your own that really doesn’t need it.