News by Dan Seifert on Monday April 02, 2012.
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A recent update to T-Mobile's My Account app for Android smartphones featured a not-so-friendly addition: ads for T-Mobile's VIP Zone service started showing up in the notification bar of users' phones.
Needless to say, T-Mobile Android users were not so happy about the new "feature," and the carrier was forced to disable the ads shortly after they started nagging users.
The carrier released a statement on the matter and its resolution:
During a recent software update, a message to promote T-Mobile's free VIP Zone was mistakenly sent to certain customers and appeared on the notification bar for some Android devices. After T-Mobile was made aware of this mistake, the company stopped the notifications. T-Mobile apologizes for the inconvenience this may have caused customers.
While it was nice of T-Mobile to quickly rectify the problem, it gives us pause when we think about how carriers and others could potentially abuse the notification bar in Android. There are already apps that use it to promote other apps from the same developer, and rarely do users have the option to disable the alerts. In the case of the T-Mobile My Account app, users could not disable the alerts, nor could they uninstall the app if they did not wish to use it.
The consequences of ads in the notification bar extend beyond just the nuisance of having to clear them. The ads also have the potential for reduced battery life, since the notification service has to poll for them in the background. [via TmoNews]
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.