HTC will be injecting adverts into its BlinkFeed Android news reader, part of a pilot program to see if it can squeeze a little extra revenue from users. BlinkFeed, launched on the original HTC One M7, occupies a dedicated homescreen pane and delivers a combination of news headlines and social media updates, but now a select few HTC owners will begin to see promotional content in there too.
According to HTC, the adverts will either be for sponsored apps from companies like Yahoo, Appia, and Twitter, or for its own accessories and devices. The company has partnered with AdNetworks to deliver the app suggestions.
Each will show up in the style of a regular BlinkFeed post, with a direct “Buy Now” button or a link to download.
In HTC’s example, for instance, it’s pitching its oddly-shaped Re camera.
“We will be implementing a way for you to opt out of receiving these promotions,” HTC cautions potentially wary users, “but we hope that displaying native and limited promotions in this way will help you discover new and useful apps and/or products and services.”
The pilot will be visible to a limited number of people in the US, UK, Germany, Taiwan, and China.
HTC is keeping its options open for a broader program, which could include more people, more markets, or both. Already, though, the feedback from owners hasn’t been especially positive.
Still, the company had always left the door open to potential commercialization of BlinkFeed, continuously refusing to commit to never including promotions or adverts. It’s unclear what sort of revenue stream HTC predicts.