Verizon is no stranger to loading up the Android phones it sells with packs of pre-installed apps (“bloatware”) and a recent report is indicating that even more apps may join your homescreen in a form of sponsored content. Join us after the break for all the details.
According to AdAge, as far back as end of 2015 Verizon started reaching out to various companies to offer them an advertising deal of $1 to $2 per phone to have their app automatically installed on a newly activated Android device. There has been a trend lately with carriers being more flexible with phone plans by removing 2-year contracts, and even letting users uninstall some of the pre-installed apps that come with their phone. However, this new freedom often comes with some strings as carriers look for new ways to bring in more revenue. Verizon has around 75 million subscribers who pay among the highest monthly costs for phone service, so the addition of paid content appearing on your home screen may not be welcome news.
It is unclear which, or how many, companies have signed on with Verizon to take advantage of this program. How it would work, though, is a company would pay Verizon anywhere from $1 to $2 per phone and when a user activates a new Android phone through the carrier, that company’s app would begin to install (along with all the other apps Verizon throws in) and end up on the home screen of the device. Another big unknown is exactly how Verizon would curate this and decide which apps (and how many) would install on any particular phone. There is no information at this time if it would be a generic bundle of apps dependent on the companies involved, or if Verizon would somehow tailor the apps to suite a specific type of user. Also unclear is if the user would be able to disable or uninstall the apps. Carriers and phone manufacturers have been getting more generous lately with letting certain apps be uninstalled, but would that still apply if a company is now paying relatively large sums of money for their app?
Getting a huge number of downloads relatively quickly, with not a lot of effort aside from the cost of the advertising, would be a great way for companies to get their brand out there and hopefully generate a larger user base. As we have seen, however, with other pre-installed apps on carrier phones, users are more likely to ignore or disable any app that doesn’t interest them. Large download numbers may be a good thing initially, but may end up not being very lucrative for companies that need a more consistent involvement from consumers.
While there is no indication that Verizon’s program has even taken off and we have yet to see any of these new sponsored apps on a device, this may become the new trend companies use to advertise services to their users. Take, for example, when Amazon announced it would subsidize certain Android phones in exchange for displaying paid advertisements on the phone’s lock screen.
How do you feel about having additional apps pre-installed on your Verizon phone? Would this make you look to other carriers when your service is up?