HTC is known to use a third-party TouchPal keyboard in most of its smartphones, which recently landed the company in quite a situation. Many users began to see static banner advertisements on their keyboard. These users quickly took to Twitter to highlight the issue and pulled up HTC over it. The adverts appeared for most users who used the HTC default keyboard on their smartphones.
The issue arose when TouchPal decided to start streaming adverts to users of its basic keyboard. While for users downloading the app separately from the Google Play store, seeing advertisements makes more sense, HTC offers the app as a default service to users, meaning they do not have an option or say in the matter. In order to key in text, users will need to visit Play Store and download a new keyboard, a hassle many wish to avoid. The ads are not streamed to Premium users, forcing even default keyboard users to upgrade. ALSO READ: HTC Ocean Life mid-range smartphone with Edge Sense, Bluetooth 5.0 leaked
As soon as the issue cropped up, many HTC 10 users took to Reddit and Twitter to talk about the issue. HTC too was unaware of it and as a quick fix began asking users to disable the keyboard or switch to some other keyboard in the meantime. HTC is one of the few companies that rely on the third party app TouchPal as Apple, Google, Samsung and others have their own keyboards which are entirely controlled by them. In this case, clearly, TouchPal did not inform HTC before unrolling the new irksome feature.
— Sid (@ssaig) July 16, 2017
— Bunny (@Pump_Bunny) July 16, 2017
HTC has said that the company is working on rolling out a fix soon, and dealing with the adverts. Apart from being irked, many Reddit users are now questioning the security the TouchPal keyboard employs. Many users claim that the adverts are based on the words typed via the keypad — meaning the company has complete access to every conversation the user has done using the new keyboard. Many have also raised questions regarding the security afforded to passwords which could also be accessed in the same manner. The company sent out an official statement addressing the issue, “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.”