When it comes to hardware, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip is the best foldable phone so far. It flips and folds like phones did 20 years ago. The difference between then and now is that today both halves are part of a full colour touch screen.
My hands-on session with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip was positive, but I ended by mentioning a potential problem with the phone.
Overseas reports say Samsung put advertising on the phone. That’s on the nose when you pay NZ$2400 for the hardware.
According to Android Police the ads are intrusive and annoying. I decided to check this out.
Ads embedded into key apps
We’re not talking about the kind of ads you see if you head to a web page on the phone, we are talking about ads in basic phone apps, like the one used to dial calls or get a weather report.
Take the Samsung phone call app. When it loads, a bunch of Yelp ads for cafes and restaurants show up. The choice is weird, many are a long way across town from where I live. The nearest is 19.5km. At a guess, these are the companies who paid someone, possibly Yelp, for the placement.
More worrying in some ways is that the Samsung Galaxy Store shows a gambling advertisement for a Poker app that offers 100,000 chips and 300 coins to get you started. That’s going to be a problem for some people.
The stock web browser opens on a page showing an ad for Vodafone broadband. On the notification page there are advertisements for Spotify.
There are ads everywhere. It’s a reminder of when grasping PC makers loaded up Windows computer with unavoidable crapware that you need to remove before you can work.
Except that it doesn’t seem possible to remove, mute or otherwise bypass the ads on the Galaxy Z Flip.
You might expect to see advertising if you use free software like Gmail or the Chrome browser. That’s part of the deal. But this is among the most expensive phones on the market.
It’s another to make me rethink the last thought on my hands-on look at the phone where I said I’d like one. Make that, I’d like one if I could get rid of the ads.
Afterthought: Assuming Samsung makes a decent margin selling phones at NZ$2400, it is probably doing its overall business more harm than good when it sells ads. If normal prices apply, the Samsung phone ads can only be worth a few dozen dollars per phone per year, but once word gets out Samsung will lose hardware sales worth hundreds of dollars.