This past weekend, TouchPal started showing ads on HTC smartphones. This doesn’t sound all that bad, until you discover that TouchPal is the default keyboard app on HTC smartphones. So the last thing users expected to see were ads. Thankfully, this turns out to be an unintentional mistake.
If you have used various Androids over the years you’ll know that there are a host of different keyboard apps available. Some manufacturers design and install their own, but many use a third-party keyboard app such as SwiftKey and TouchPal. Which is fine, until they start acting up.
No One Wants Ads Foisted Upon Them
This is what happened over the weekend when HTC users started seeing ads appearing above their keyboard app whenever they tried to type anything. The free version of TouchPal actually does show ads, but not to HTC users who had TouchPal foisted on them simply by buying an HTC handset.
These ads were first spotted by HTC users on Reddit, before more people started reporting their sudden appearance. I actually saw them myself on my HTC Desire 650. And while this may not be everyone’s experience the ads actually prevented me from inserting spaces into anything I typed. Which was frustrating when I was trying to tweet my oh-so-important thoughts on everything.
Due to an error, some customers are seeing ads on the phone keyboard. We're working to fix the error and remove these as quickly as possible
— HTC UK (@HTC_UK) July 17, 2017
With the complaints piling up HTC issued a statement saying, “Due to an error, some HTC customers have reported seeing ads on their phone’s keyboard. This is absolutely not the experience we intended, and we’re working to immediately fix the error and remove the ads as quickly as possible.”
The ads have now disappeared off of my phone, so it would seem HTC and TouchPal are acting quickly to resolve the issue. However, this hasn’t appeased everyone, with plenty of HTC users promising to switch to a new keyboard app. We can heartily recommend Gboard, which is capable of more than you think.
Manufacturers Shouldn’t Rely on Third-Party Apps
This is a timely reminder of the danger of manufacturers relying on third-party apps of any kind. Especially if, like keyboards, they perform an essential function. This was clearly a mistake, but there’s really nothing to stop TouchPal from displaying ads in the future on purpose.
Do you own an HTC handset? Do you use TouchPal as your keyboard app? If so, did you notice ads appearing over the weekend? Did it adversely affect your user experience? Are you going to switch to another keyboard app? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr