New Android 4.4 dialer seems to include support for advertisements

How tolerant are you of ads on your smartphone? We put up with them in free apps, and on mobile websites, because – well – somebody’s got to pay the bills, and living with advertisements here and there helps keep our mobile experiences both content-rich and affordable. But is there a line that maybe shouldn’t be crossed, where advertisements start encroaching on really basic, essential, phone system-level stuff? We’re wondering about that today, after seeing evidence that suggests ads may be coming to the new KitKat dialer in Android 4.4.

As you might know by now, Google’s really enhancing the dialer’s capabilities in this release, making it smarter about identifying who’s calling you, and giving you tools to directly search for unknown businesses. Assuming you’re OK with the privacy implications involved, the extra functionality sounds great, but there might be another hidden cost.

Text strings in the dialer APK reveal a setting to enable or disable advertisements. That’s a bit of a mixed blessing – sure, it’s nice that there may be a way to turn off ads should Google ever end up implementing them, but is this really a place where it’s appropriate for ads to be in the first place?

We may be getting ahead of ourselves here, and perhaps should wait until any ad system actually goes live before we start panicking, but we’re nervous all the same. Is Android destined to become fully inundated with Google’s ads?

Update: Since first telling you about this, there have been a few developments. Apparently this specific ad-related text has occasionally shown up before in Android releases, but then it also turns out there’s some brand-new ad code in 4.4. Thankfully, Google has stepped up to set the record straight, and a rep makes it clear that the company is not going to place ads in the dialer.

Source: Android Police

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!