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HTC Source | August 23, 2017

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Latest Sense Home update brings ads to BlinkFeed

Latest Sense Home update brings ads to BlinkFeed

HTC has turned to the blog to let users know that those who use BlinkFeed in areas like the US, UK, Germany, Taiwan, and China will now see an occasional promotion. These promotions are said to hope to introduce viewers to useful apps, products, and/or services including some of HTC’s own products. Ads will have a native appearance within BlinkFeed and will fall in line with other news stories in the feed differing with action buttons and/or a sponsored title.

Eventually, HTC says there will be an option to disable ads within BlinkFeed, but for this test run all users are presented with ads unless you disable any news highlights and only view your social feeds. You can also completely disable the BlinkFeed page on your home screen if one or two occasional ads bother you that much. So far on two current HTC phones we’ve only seen app recommendations like the ones pictured below.

We took a short time out from BlinkFeed and downloaded a similar news reader app called Flipboard and guess what… it has ads too. Creepy ones like the one shown below!

Flipboard Creepy AdIn contrast though, Flipboard is a free app available to millions more users and on multiple mobile operating systems. For now, BlinkFeed comes standard with any newer HTC phone that people pay top dollar for and since it’s integrated into the user interface it’s like we’re paying to be force fed advertisements.

Readers of the HTC blog have already sounded off about the new change and most users are offended by use of force to insert ads into HTC’s news reader. We also noticed a few one star ratings in the Play store due to the latest update which in the description only mentions bug fixes and performance enhancements.

HTC may have had a decent goal of introducing users to new items, but the plan of execution certainly tripped up at the starting line. We agree with a comment on the HTC blog, that HTC should have included the opt-out option with the roll out of the ads since users will get the update automatically and may not ever see the blog article explaining that this is a pilot to see how well users respond to ads in their feed.

The community is in an uproar and as HTC stated on the blog, this is a pilot test to see what users think of ads in their news feed. We won’t be surprised if HTC updates Sense Home with an “opt-out” option or removes ads altogether before you finish reading this article. Maybe HTC is scrambling to bring in revenue from any available angles since we’re hearing about lower than expected sales, but this option takes a swing at HTC’s already paid customers. We don’t mind the ads personally since they have a minimal appearance in our feed and we wish we could help others see this news in a more positive light, but it’s unclear where HTC is focused and it’s hard to support all that is spewing out.

Source: HTC Blog

About Andy Medders

With over a decade of IT experience working in and for the US Army, Andy has helped implement pilot programs using Android devices at work and helps others learn how to turn a smartphone into a tool for getting things done. He started a blog about HTC as an outlet to share HTC news without spamming his friends on common social networks, but decided to combine forces with HTCSource to have more of an impact on the HTC community. Andy has had an HTC in his pocket since the days of the T-Mobile MDA.

Comments

  1. Kwadwo Boadu

    I’ve got into what could be said to be a ‘heated debate’ with some of the commenters who I think have blown it out of proportion somewhat. I agree with what you have said some better transparency with the description in the Playstore certainly would have helped, but that is not an excuse the commenters on the Blog can use. I’m guessing though based on the current reviews and comments that the result of the pilot will not be to go ahead with it for other markets and cut it entirely.