Amid dealing with the US trade ban, Huawei found some time to cause itself another headache, and decided that the best thing to do to win over the hearts and minds of its loyal customers was … to display unsolicited advertising on their expensive smartphones.
We broke this story on Thursday, after noticing numerous advertisements for booking.com plastered across the lockscreen of our review P30 Pro device. Not long after, social media was awash with complaints from customers noticing the same thing, and our comments lit up too with both upset customers and those deciding to buy their next phone somewhere else.
We approached Huawei for comment, but the company remained quiet at the time, so we went ahead and published our story. It wasn’t a great look for Huawei, either rolling out the ads in the first place, or having nothing much to say about having done so either.
After a couple of days, though, the criticism appears to have become a little much.
Huawei gave a statement overnight (via Android Central), all but admitting it had screwed up:
Dear users, we thank you for your candid comments, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused to your experience.
Please kindly be informed that we have taken down those lock-screen images from our servers, as they should not be appearing on lock-screen interfaces.
For the image/s already downloaded to your phone, you may delete as per following:
1) When the image appears on the screen, slide up from the bottom edge of the screen, and the operation toolbar appears;
2) Click the “Delete” button and click “Remove” in the confirmation box which pops up.
We will continue to improve our services and brings you excellent user experience.
What’s most interesting about this is that Huawei claimed the ads shouldn’t have been appearing on user’s lockscreens.
Given the various user elements involved – an image with advertising over the top, a special area that appeared on the lockscreen to click (which normally isn’t there) and a link off to a promotional page, I’ve little doubt this was an intentional development quickly backtracked when it was realised what a stupid idea it was.
If you’ve been affected by these lockscreen ads, follow the process above to get rid of them, and we understand they won’t be coming back.