Update, 10:50pm ET: HTC has confirmed to AC that the ads were mistakenly included. An HTC spokesperson provided the following statement:
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.
Original story: Ads in the stock keyboard app on a flagship smartphone. Added quietly via an app update. Which then asks you to pay to remove them.
You'd be hard pressed to come up with a more comically villainous thing for a phone manufacturer, or app developer, to pull on its users. Yet that's what's been happening to some HTC phone owners over the past day, as spotted first by Reddit user "Azirack" on his HTC 10.
HTC 10 owners seem to be worst affected (we're not seeing it on the newer U11 for what it's worth), with the ad bar taking up a good chunk of screen real estate. There's understandable outrage among HTC owners whose phones have started coughing up ads every time they open the keyboard. The consensus, obviously, is that this is not an OK place for ads to be appearing.
An error by keyboard developer TouchPal is the most likely explanation.
HTC hasn't gotten back to us with an official statement just yet. (Update: See statement above.) The company's official Twitter account is telling angry users to uninstall the latest update to TouchPal via the Settings app, suggesting that the appearance of ads in this update is a mistake. Most likely, code from regular (non-HTC) version of TouchPal, which does include an ad-supported trial version alongside a subscription-supported paid option, made its way into the HTC Sense version. (Both variants live on Google Play, but are updated separately.)
Plus, after well over a decade making smartphones, it's hard to believe HTC would be stupid enough to OK something like this.
However, it does demonstrate one major pitfall of outsourcing your stock keyboard to a third-party developer. HTC saves money in doing so, but catches all the flack when things go wrong. Customers seeing ads on their expensive new handsets aren't mad at the relatively unknown TouchPal, they're angry at HTC. As it looks to build on solid momentum around the U11's launch, such a dent in its reputation among existing customers is something it really doesn't need.
TouchPal for HTC Sense had tanked to an average review score of 2.6 stars on Google Play at the time of writing.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
The Echo Buds are just $80 right now and that’s a great deal
Alexa's 6th birthday is coming up, and our favorite AI voice assistant is discounting all of her favorite Amazon devices. I recommend that you rush to grab a pair of Amazon's underrated Echo Buds which are on sale today for $50 off!
Where's Android 10 for my smartphone?
Android 10 has been kicking around for more than a year now, but not every phone has received the big update yet ahead of the launch of Android 11. Here's a breakdown of which phones are confirmed to get the Android 10 update and when you can look forward to it.
Google's Pixel 5 is now on sale in the U.S. and Canada
Google's Pixel 5 is finally available to purchase in the U.S. and Canada. The phone was released in seven countries earlier this month, including Australia and the U.K.
These are the best Nokia 8.3 5G cases you can find today!
The Nokia 8.3 5G has finally arrived! With a beautiful design, 5G connectivity, and some impressive specs this phone might be one of the best phones this year. But with a phone that looks this great, you'll want to keep it safe from life, so we've found the best cases.