Samsung introduces adblocking to its Android devices

World’s largest smartphone manufacturer releases update to its default web browser enabling users to block advertising

The world’s largest smartphone maker, Samsung, has introduced adblocking on its devices, potentially introducing hundreds of millions more people to barring online ads.

Samsung released an update on Sunday night that allows apps to stop ads appearing in its own web browser, which is installed as a default on its smartphones.

Samsung is the first major maker of smartphones running Google’s Android operating system to enable adblocking, following a similar announcement by iPhone maker Apple in September. Samsung accounted for 22% of all smartphones sold in 2015, according to Strategy Analytics, just ahead of Apple’s 16%.

The Korean firm’s decision to allow its customers to block ads will be a further headache for companies that make money from digital advertising, as most are seeing their audiences rapidly move to mobile devices.

Until Apple’s announcement, adblocking rates remained far lower on smartphones than desktops in most regions outside Asia. However, research published last week by GlobalWebIndex suggested that the number of people blocking ads on mobiles is rapidly approaching the same level.

Samsung’s decision is likely to have less impact than Apple’s because many users of its Android operating system use Google’s Chrome browser, which is automatically offered as a way to open links on the devices.

Google makes the vast majority of its revenue from advertising and is unlikely to be enthusiastic about adblocking. However, both it and other web firms such as Facebook have recognised growing concern among consumers about slow load speeds and increased data usage caused by ads, and have developed ways of delivering content such as news articles more quickly and in small file sizes.


Jasper Jackson

The GuardianTramp

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