Attention, phone-makers: Our devices aren’t your billboards

A troubling trend is taking shape here in the land o’ smartphones, and lemme tell ya: It’s something that really gets my feathers ruffled.

The short version is this: Manufacturers of high-end, expensive devices are treating the phones they sell us as billboards. Despite the fact that we’re often paying well over a thousand bucks for these pieces of technology, the companies behind ’em are inserting ads into core parts of their operating systems in an attempt to squeeze even more money out of us — at the cost of our user experience.

We’ve seen renewed signs of such silliness on a few different fronts lately — and not only within Android: On the Apple side of the mobile-tech garden, in fact, a developer recently pointed out how iOS is rapidly deteriorating into a place for Apple to advertise its pay-to-play services. The goal, he explained, is to push those services — rather aggressively — onto customers who haven’t yet signed up for recurring monthly payments.

Per his blog post:

iOS 13 has an abundance of ads from Apple marketing Apple services, from the moment you set it up and all throughout the experience. These ads cannot be hidden through the iOS content blocker extension system. Some can be dismissed or hidden, but most cannot and are purposefully designed into core apps like Music and the App Store. There’s a term to describe software that has lots of unremovable ads: adware, which what iOS has sadly become.

The ads appear in both system-level apps and push notifications, the developer notes, and — yessiree — come “at the expense of the user experience.”

It’s a feeling some of us here on the Android side know all too well. Just last week, Samsung started getting fresh flak for inserting ads into the Phone app on its top-of-the-line Galaxy phones. The observation was initially made about the new $1,380 Galaxy Z Flip device, but the same effect is present on other Galaxy flagships, too, I can confirm, including the regular Galaxy S line of products.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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