Jul 7th, 2011

We already get enough of this sick, twisted model on the web, and it may be jumping out of your browser and onto your homescreen or on top of whatever Android application you may be using. The Go Wallpaper Dev Team has released an admittedly-beautiful live wallpaper called 3D Fireflies in the Android market. It’s a great clash of colors that brightens up your homescreen and makes everything feel “lively”. What they don’t tell you is how they aim to support their free version.

As you know, it’d be quite difficult to provide an ad-supported live wallpaper – there really is no ad to display unless there’s a settings page, meaning an “in-app ad” would actually have to sit on your homescreen behind your widgets and icons. Not only would the latter be ugly to the end user, it wouldn’t be very useful for advertisers.

There was AirPush, which is still used by some applications in the market despite a huge uproar from the community regarding its obtrusive nature, but AirPush would have been more desirable than what the Go Wallpaper team is doing. They’ll display ads in the form of a pop-up message, meaning there’s no way to just avoid the ad. It’s there, on top of the home screen and probably whatever application you’re using, trying to grab your attention.

I installed the live wallpaper just to test this out, and between the hour or so I stared at the mesmerizing wallpaper, I saw the ad at least twice. The ads were brief, but it would still be annoying to see one of these come up as I’m trying to browse the web or look through Twitter. (I can only confirm that this happens while on the home screen.) And they were so brief that trying to grab my camera to snap a photo proved useless. I mean, if I had time to stare at my phone all day I would have grabbed it, but I don’t.

I haven’t been able to track down who they signed up with for this advertising model, unfortunately, as it’s not as “out there” as AirPush is. I’m not saying developers don’t have a right to make money on free applications, but I implore you to find a better way. At least implement some settings – any settings – so that ads can be moved out of the way.

I can’t complain, I guess, because the wallpaper is provided as a paid, ad-free application for just under $2. Still, let’s not let this become a habit devs, for the sake of both our sanity and yours. Popup ads on a PC are fine because they can usually be easily avoided and, for the most part, don’t really hurt the experience depending on what site you use. Android is more than a web browser, folks – please treat it that way. [AndroidForums.com]