The best cheap phones in 2022 offer solid options for anyone who doesn’t want to spend $800 or more on a phone, but there are some tradeoffs and there could be another one soon.
According to a report from TechCrunch, we could see budget phones launching in the US with ads on their lock screens before the end of the year due to a deal between wireless carriers and Glance, a mobile ad company that has struck similar deals in India and other markets in the past ( via Gizmodo).
What do these lock screen ads look like?
These are not pop-up ads that will disrupt your use of the phone once you unlock it, but they will remain on your lock screen and assuming they follow the same model as in other countries, there is no easy method to disable the ads. This is unlike the Amazon Fire tablets and Kindle with ad model, which allow you to pay a one-time fee to disable the ads.
The ad experience is apparently robust with the ability to scroll through multiple windows of ads and view video and news content that is believed to be sponsored or otherwise generate some revenue for the advertiser when interacting with the content.
What do you get out of it?
While you can swipe to unlock the phone and ignore the ads, there are a few things that set me off. The first is that I hope to see an even bigger discount on any phone with this ad model built into it. While I like to be proved wrong, I have my doubts that that will happen.
The second is that these lock screen ads can hurt battery life depending on how taxing they are on the phone. And when they are activated, it can meaningfully impact your experience, and again, what benefit to you?
Finally, how safe is this app and how does it monitor the ads served over its network? We’ve already written stories about phones being hijacked by spyware and bugs that are used almost daily to steal your money; the last thing Android users need is another potential attack vector with this ad service overlay on top of Android.
For now, this remains a rumor, but we’ll keep an eye out for it in the coming months and give you a closer look at the details as we start seeing cheap phones with lock screen ads on US carriers. Phones like the iPhone SE (2022) and the soon-to-be-released Pixel 6a may be even more attractive for budget options if lock screen ads become common on other phones.