Adblock Plus Android app – a strong start that falls victim to Android fragmentation
Adblock Plus has released their much used and loved ad blocking browser addon as an Android app and at the same time demonstrated why Android users need more control over the types of ads that appear on their devices.
The app does as its name suggests, and what users are accustomed to from the browser edition, by removing ads from their apps. The app’s creators say that it has been designed to remove common in-app ads as well as push notifications, video ads, and HTML5 ads.
And while it does this very well various factors prevent it from doing so as robustly as users have come to expect from the browser editions.
The developers say that the app’s functionality varies according to which Android version you’re running and whether your device has been rooted. For those on Android 3.1+ the set-up process is the same as with any other app, but those running Android 3.0 or below will need to manually set-up a proxy to block ads.
Even then your Android will still show you ads, if they have been delivered to your device using SSL or if you are using a data rather than wireless connection. The app also can’t block ads in the Android versions of Firefox or Opera – although a stand-alone Firefox Mobile browser addon is available from Adblock Plus.
Rooted devices will likely require some level of custom set-up for the app but users will be able to remove ads on WiFi and data connections.
As the developers say, “We are still in the early development stages with this application and there is certainly much room for improvement.”
The developers also warn that the app might be shown as the highest for consumer of data bandwidth on your device but that this is not the case.
“Please note that Adblock Plus will probably become the highest data-using application on your Android device. However, this is only because Adblock Plus needs to filter the data to ensure that the ads can be blocked. Adblock Plus is actually only using a fraction of the data shown on your device.
So, it all sounds a little bit complicated, and it is, but we need apps such as these. Android and iOS users should expect to have easy and fast control over the number and types of ads that they see. And if this control doesn’t come native with the OS then it inevitably falls to third party developers to provide it.
Adblock Plus isn’t the only app developer to try and tackle this and it’s not the first to run into such problems but if it can encourage some of its large number of desktop users to install the app and demand more controls over their device’s ads than that can only be a good thing.
As case in point, even with such limitations the app has been well received on the Play Store, with a 3.6 star rating out of nearly 3,000 recommendations.