Your Lock Screen Is No Longer Safe

A lot of smartphone users enjoy personalizing their lock screens for a variety of reasons, whether it's with images they've made or taken themselves, a selfie with important people in their life, a favorite pet, a favorite fictional character, or whatever else. But as the ceaseless need of corporations to commodify everything in our lives marches on, even those brief moments of personalized expression could end up being disrupted by ads.

Lock screen ads aren't a brand new concept, to be sure, but they're not a popular one either — at least not with the people who have to see them. Once upon a time, this was tied to app permissions and could be turned off (provided you were okay with disabling lock screen notifications from specific apps), but what Glance is offering with its "reimagined" lock screen is something a bit different. And according to sources speaking to TechCrunch, Glance is set to launch on Android smartphones in the U.S. at some point between July and September 2022, though it's already currently available in other countries on Motorola, Oppo, Realme, Samsung, Vivo, and Xiaomi hardware.

What can Android users expect?

Glance's lock screen platform is essentially a media platform in itself that promotes content based on a user's perceived preferences. When active, Glance will display everything from game ads to suggested fitness articles, and current news to random trivia. The stumbling block for users who prefer to avoid ads is that all of this is displayed directly on the phone's lock screen, so as soon as the device is picked up and the screen turns on, you're immediately looking at the date, time, and whatever Glance is trying to make you pay attention to. It's too soon to say for certain that Glance's integration into U.S. Android phones will lead to a deluge of curated lock screen content nobody asked for, though. 

Though specific phone models and carriers remain unknown at this time, the report claims via unnamed sources that Glance is in talks with multiple U.S. carriers over partnerships that may bring its platform to "several" different Android phone models. As TechCrunch points out, the tendency for U.S. carriers to bundle smartphones with specific data plans is a different model than what the carriers overseas use, which has been slowing down Glance's spread into the U.S. somewhat. There's likely still a lot of backroom red tape that needs to be sorted out before something like this ends up on the majority of smartphones — though it does paint a somewhat tiresome picture of the future for smartphone users, huh?