With ‘Glance’, Smartphone Lock Screens become Ad Spaces


Phone displays have become ‘billboards’ with Glance

Advertising is a necessary evil in today’s internet landscape, but sometimes it can be too invasive. If the Google-backed company “Glance” gets its way, you’ll probably start seeing more Android phones with lockscreen ads in the United States.

TechCrunch reports that “Glance,” a company that provides lockscreen ads for Android smartphones is looking to start services in the United States “within two months.” The company has taken investment by Google, and is a subsidiary of advertising giant InMobi Group that started in India.

What does Glance do with lockscreen ads?

Android phones equipped with the company’s tech have a “dynamic” lockscreen that can display advertisements, news, and even games. And it seems the functionality is tricky to disable. Gizmodo pointed out user threads discussing ways to disable the lockscreen ads on their Android phones, and both Realme and Samsung use the tech in some devices sold in India.

Currently, Glance services around 400 million smartphones in Asian markets.

glance android lockscreen ads
This is what ads look like on an Android lockscreen powered by Glance.

Now, Glance has its sights set on bringing lockscreen ads to more Android devices in the United States. Apparently, the company is in talks with US carriers and has plans to launch on “several” smartphone models as soon as “next month.” The US version of the technology will apparently be a “premium offering where individuals have higher propensity to pay for digital services.”

In Asia, Glance typically partners directly with smartphone manufacturers, but the company is shifting to carriers in the US given that most smartphone sales in the US are made through carriers.

Glance even has an advertising solution on top of Android TV – as if Google weren’t already doing enough in that area.

Of course, lockscreen ads on Android phones is not a new phenomenon. Amazon served ads on subsidized Android smartphones for years with its “Prime Exclusive” line, and also uses the practice to keep costs down on its Android tablets. Other brands are also notorious for using system apps to push advertisements about new products or services, with Samsung having been a notable example in recent years, but the company has since mostly ceased the practice.

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