HTC’s Sense has been one of the better looking and smoothest customizations of the Android operating system made by an OEM. BlinkFeed is a feature that HTC introduced in two years ago, along with the Sense 5 version of the UI. It displays news headlines from various sites as well as social media content and it lives right on the Home screen of devices like the One M9, One M8 and some others. It can be updated right from the Google Play Store, so it doesn’t need the latest version of the UI to get the latest features. Since the company has recently been struggling with making profits, even their newest flagship doesn’t seem to be what consumers expected from the company, so it was reported about a month ago that some ads (or ‘promotions’, as HTC is calling them) would be included in BlinkFeed.
Now, HTC is making it official by releasing an update to BlinkFeed that will allow the app to display these ads, integrated in the app, as if they were just another headline rather than using pop-ups or banners. Promotions will start getting tested in some regions including the US, UK, Germany, Taiwan and China. The ads will come from the AdNetworks partners like Yahoo, Twitter and Appia and they are supposed to show relevant promotions or sponsored apps. HTC itself will use this spaces to promote their own services or products like accessories or new devices.
HTC explains that they are working on a way to opt out of getting the ads, but they hope users won’t use it as they built this feature to help them “discover new and useful apps and/or products”. The promotions are supposed to come in limited quantities, but the company does not specify an exact number. They also are making clear that this is just a pilot program to analyze how effective this feature would be and how users actually like this implementation. Of course, if it turns out to be profitable, expect to see additional markets including ads in the app. Meanwhile users who don’t like to see advertisements in their phones could use some other news aggregator.