While it’s true that the Android lock screen could be improved a bit from Apple revealed what it does for iOS is not what we thought. According Tech CrunchMobile advertising company, Glance, plans to launch its lock screen platform on Android devices in the United States within the next two months.
According to the report, Glance has been in talks with US mobile carriers and plans to launch it on multiple smartphones as early as next month. The TechCrunch source is a person “familiar with the matter” who requested anonymity because “deliberations are ongoing and private.”
Glance did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment, and we’ll update this post when we get back to you.
Glance is a subsidiary of InMobi, an India-based mobile marketing platform. He has been called India’s first unicorn boot due to its fundraising success. He even managed to secure Google as an investor few years ago.
Glance comes pre-installed on a slew of Android devices overseas, including Samsung’s line of budget smartphones. It’s not an Android app in the traditional sense, which means you can go to the Google Play Store and download it. Instead, it relies on the Android operating system as a sort of overlay. Glance is also a major part of Pragati OS, a custom version of Android developed between Google and Jio for affordable smartphones like the Next Jio Phone.
Glance primarily exists as a dynamic lock screen. Once you turn on the phone screen, you will see updated content like different wallpaper, news headlines and video. But it also displays ads, and while they’re not glaring on screen like yesterday’s Internet pop-ups, they’re annoying enough that you can quickly surface message plank threads of users trying to disable ability. Browsing through this story, I even came across this Realme India support account on Twitter apologizing for not being able to completely disable Glance.
While you can unlock the phone to bypass content, Glance is programmed to let you keep scrolling to interact with different panels featuring content you might actually want, like news and original videos. Beyond its captive audience approach, the company seems to believe it has potential with a “make you stay awhile” model. Earlier this year, Glance spear an Android TV experience for Indian customers, promising users the ability “to interact directly in real time with their favorite stars on their TV home screens”.
Despite the perceived success in other corners of the world, it’s worrying that Glance is setting its sights on the United States. Low-end and mid-range device users are already getting the short end of the stick when buying a smartphone through a carrier. The phone models on offer tend to perform poorly and lag behind on essential software updates. Imagine managing all of that plus bloatware ads and unsolicited content that you can’t unbundle or opt out of.
Nothing has been officially announced from Glance, but the existence of ads on Android smartphones has become a real concern in recent years. To offer an anecdote, I’ve been using the OnePlus 9 since last summer, and the company’s official app constantly offers promotions and things like that in the notification shade. The same thing happened on some Samsung devices, which showed ads popping up all over the company’s stock apps, including Samsung Health and the Galaxy Store. Luckily, there is a fix in Android 13 that blocks all unwanted pings in the drop-down notification shade the minute you install an app, but that doesn’t fix the main problem.
If more companies find that users are willing to tolerate this kind of forced advertising, it could hurt the already frayed reputation of the Android platform. This could be good news for Apple, which has managed to maintain parity in iOS between “cheaper” iPhone models and its latest flagship units while gaining market share. Google is primarily in the advertising business, and the Android platform is, at least in part, about data collection that powers ad targeting. Push users to invest in an Apple phone that is not riddled with bloatware could be a clean one he really doesn’t need.