Brands collaborate with third-party applications all the time as it results beneficial for both the smartphone brand and the app as the latter gets publicity while the former gets revenue. One such app is Glance, a lock screen wallpaper app that has partnered with Realme and few other brands to come pre-loaded on all smartphones from the companies. However, unlike most third-party pre-loaded apps, Glance is actually behaving like adware for most Realme users, and as a result, the app has added 40 million new users in the past four quarters. Let us explain to you what is happening in detail.
What is Glance?
Glance was incorporated back in 2019 and launched the lock screen wallpaper app for Android devices. The app aims to enhance the lock screen experience for users with relevant informational news or new wallpapers. It has been widely popular, but off late, the app has been irritating many users for the following reasons.
What’s the issue with Glance?
A report by Counterpoint Research shows that Glance has added 40 million users in the past four quarters. This is because leading smartphone players like Xiaomi (including Poco), Samsung, OPPO, Vivo and realme, which collectively account for more than three-fourths of the Indian smartphone market, all currently have Glance as their lock screen platform.
However, users have long complained about the forced nature of the app on Realme smartphones. Users have been reporting issues related to the app where the app has been turning on without the user’s consent and even if the user has turned it off manually. Reports date back to last year, and since then, Realme has failed to issue a patch that solves the problem.
This is the exact same behaviour that is expected from adware, and because of support from big brands like Realme, the app has had the liberty to behave in this way. The app clearly states that it is not an ad platform, but its behaviour has been contradicting its own claims. Realme is at fault as well but it seems like the brand may be doing this deliberately because of the revenue, it is generating through this partnership with Glance.
Why is Counterpoint a part of this?
Counterpoint carries a disclaimer at the end of the report, “This is a sponsored survey to better understand the brand’s presence in the Indian smartphone market.” But, the report doesn’t highlight the issues faced by the customers like – App is getting activated even after customers have deactivated it, how many customers have deactivated it, is there a mechanism in place where customer’s consent is taken before activating the service. The report in general looks like it is promoting an app like Glance, which is behaving like adware. Ideally, it should spread more awareness about the nature of the app, forcing the developers to fix what has to be fixed.