Chinese smartphone market and electronics giant Xiaomi has admitted that it puts advertisements in the Android-based software that powers its smartphones. The company came under fire from its users and smartphone enthusiasts on the internet after a Reddit user noticed ads in the settings app on their smartphone. This is not a new development for the company as it has been known to add include advertisements in its in-house apps. However, the cause of the attention now is likely because of the fact that most users don’t really anticipate advertisements in the settings app which is an Android system app.
Days after the advertisement was first spotted and gained attention on the internet, Xiaomi has issued a statement admitting that it does put ads on its smartphone while adding a clarification about why it does so. In a statement to The Verge, Xiaomi added that the ads are only served in the devices powered by its in-house Android-based MIUI skin. According to the statement, Xiaomi states, “Advertising has been and will continue to be an integral part of Xiaomi’s Internet services.”
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The company goes on to add, “At the same time, we will uphold user experience by offering options to turn off the ads and by constantly improving our approach towards advertising, including adjusting where and when ads appear.” Xiaomi added that it tries to ensure that the advertisements served in MIUI are “unobtrusive” along with an option for users to receive “fewer recommendations”.
According to the report, it makes sense for the company to rely on advertising since it does not depend on making a profit from its hardware sale. However, the company needs to ensure that the advertisements served are “unobtrusive” as the initial Reddit report stated that the ads were appearing event after the user disabled the recommendation option in the software settings. It is worth noting that Xiaomi is not the only smartphone market that serves advertisements and other players who engage in similar practices include Samsung and other China-based players.