According to posts on Reddit and Twitter, some Huawei users are seeing Booking.com ads on the lock screens of their smartphones. If the ad is clicked, the users are directed to the travel portal. Apparently, a lot of models including the Huawei P20, P20 Lite, and P30 Pro have been affected and the pesky ads are also showing up on Honor devices such as the Honor 10 and Honor P20. The ads have been served to users from various countries including the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Netherlands, Germany, and Norway.
The ads are appearing on smartphones of users who have set built-in landscape images as wallpapers. To remove them, the best option right now is not to use the pre-installed Magazine background images. Although ads have not been plastered on all Magazine lock screen wallpapers right now, chances are that Huawei will add them to more images in the future.
Another possible way to get around the problem is to turn off AppGallery updates. AppGallery is Huawei's app store and disabling updates will apparently prevent the phone from automatically updating the wallpapers with ads.
Magazine unlock is basically an exclusive feature of EMUI, Huawei's Android-based custom operating system. The feature comes with various HD quality wallpapers and each time the screen is unlocked, a different wallpaper is displayed.
Right now, most of the ads seem to be from the travel website Booking.com. Although Huawei hasn't said anything about the matter officially, its customer support department has apparently said that it's happening because of the Booking.com app. However, even users who have not installed the app on their handsets are seeing the ads, so the problem cannot be tied to the app.
While it's not difficult to change the background image, it certainly is annoying, and Huawei users are understandably angry. Online ads are irksome as it is and what's even more irritating for the users is the fact that even high-end devices have not been spared.
The U.S. government has put Huawei on its entity list, as a result of which several companies have suspended business relations with the company. Although current handsets have not been affected as a result of the ban, the future of upcoming devices is in jeopardy. Some reports also say that sales of Huawei devices have gone down in various European countries including Germany and Spain as a result of the blockade.
Needless to say, Huawei's bottom line will be severely affected as a result of the embargo. Moreover, as the company ramps up its efforts to increase its self-sufficiency, it is probably more in need of cash than ever. Perhaps that's why it has resorted to advertising to generate some revenues. On the other hand, there is also a small possibility that this is a technical glitch and will be taken care of soon.
Although it's not unusual to see ads on cheaper devices, they are not acceptable on high-end smartphones that people pay a lot of money for. If this issue isn't taken care of, Huawei might see users switch to competing devices in the future and given the current situation, this is the last thing that the battered company would want.