More reports on: Advertising / branding

Updated TouchPal keyboard starts serving banner ads to HTC 10 users

17 July 2017

An updated TouchPal keyboard, which HTC had been using as a default on some devices, has started serving banner ads to unsuspecting users of phones like the HTC 10. According to commentators, even though one was not stuck with the keyboard, most people would rather not have to switch keyboards just to avoid crass commercialism.

According to commentators, it looked like HTC was also as surprised as anyone else and was asking users to uninstall TouchPal's updates. Meanwhile, TouchPal itself had claimed that a server issue was behind the unwanted promos. Whatever the exact cause, it looked like a mistake and TouchPal had likely flipped the wrong virtual switch and started sending ads to customers who were never supposed to see them.

According to commentators, the incident highlighted the risks of outsourcing system software. If a manufacturer did not write their own code (or trust it to an OS developer like Google), it was harder for them to avoid surprises like this. The mess also hurts HTC's image, however briefly, and the company really did not need that negative publicity while it was still losing cash.

Meanwhile, HTC said in a statement to : "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."

According to commentators, HTC would get affected the most as it had been shipping TouchPal on its phones for a few years now.

According to a couple of reddit posts, users were already seeing ads on their HTC 10 phones when they started using the keyboard. This was due to HTC shipping the phone with the basic version of TouchPal and in order to disable the ads the customers needed to get the premium version.

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