HTC Delivering Ads Straight to Sense Home
HTC’s 2015 has been a year marked by a desperate search for revenue.
The HTC One M9 launched with its own launcher complete with a Smart Folder in the Sense Home Widget. This automatic pseudo-folder would populate with “suggestions” that were nothing more than thinly-veiled ads.
Just over a month ago, HTC began placing advertisements (that can thankfully be disabled) in Blinkfeed. These Blinkfeed ads appeared after Yelp advertisements began appearing on HTC’s Lock screen. Users, expectedly, voiced dissatisfaction all across the internet, including here in our own forums.
Today, HTC has taken the “native advertising” a step further and begun sending push notifications straight to user’s devices. The push advertisement is for a custom theme available in HTC’s theme store. Sponsored themes like these are nothing new (Samsung offers Marvel based themes on the S6), but pushing them to users’ notification panels without their consent is more aggressive than we’re used to and it’s reminiscent of a practice which Google itself fought against.
We’ve discussed HTC’s potential blunders before on XDA. It seems as though this has become a yearly cycle: discussing HTC’s latest mis-steps. Last year it was the massively expensive Robert Downey Jr. ad campaign. The ads wound up being confusing and downright cringe inducing. Even Google couldn’t help, as the Nexus 9 was met with lukewarm reviews last year.
HTC’s dire financial situation has been mentioned repeatedly this year. From the tepid M9 reception, to replacing their CEO, HTC has had a rough 2015. Year-to-date, HTC has seen it’s stock fall almost 52%. In April alone, the company’s revenue declined 40% – mostly due to shipping a little over half as many M9 units as expected. It’s clear that HTC remains in trouble.
HTC definitely needs a hit with its next release. During a recent earnings call, HTC’s new CEO Cher Wang mentioned a “hero product” coming this fall. Recent rumors have this device being dubbed the “Aero.” The Aero is rumored to have a 2560 x 1440 display with Gorilla Glass 4, a better camera with a bigger f/1.9 aperture, and long overdue redesign.. The Aero may potentially come in at a lower than expected price as well. Will this be enough to bring the company out of its struggle? It’s much too early to tell, but it’s safe to assume that it would be a step in the right direction.
What do you think? Are ads like this an unforgivable sin or just business as usual? Does HTC’s Aero have a shot at pulling them out of this ongoing slump?