Are ads on their way to the KitKat dialer? [Update]

by: Andrew GrushNovember 1, 2013


Android has dramatically evolved over the years in many ways, though one area that hasn’t seen a lot of love has been the dialer app. With Android 4.4 KitKat, this all changes. The new KitKat phone dialer brings us plenty of new features, including a card-based UI, in-app business search, smart contacts, smart caller and so much more.

While the new dialer has plenty of positives heading our way, Google might also be sneaking in something a bit more sinister.  According to Android Police, hiding within the dialer’s code is a set of strings that obviously refer to advertisements:

<string name=”enable_disable_advertisements”>Advertisements</string>
<string name=”advertisements_enable”>Advertisements enabled</string>
<string name=”advertisements_disable”>Advertisements disabled</string>

It’s currently unclear what form these ads might take, we could be talking about full image ads, or even just simple text ads. We also can’t say for sure that Google intends to roll these out, they may have just been experimenting with the possibility.

Even if ads do surface in the dialer, the presence of the “Advertisements_disable” string seems to suggest that there might be a way to turn them off.

Does the idea of (hopefully) subtle ads in parts of the dialer bother you or not?

Update: A Google rep has reached out to Android Authority clarifying that the code in question is actually quite old, and has appeared in past versions of the dialer. Furthermore, the rep says that Google is not working on bringing ads to the Dialer.

  • iTriune

    That is the first thing I thought when I saw the dialer.

  • NeedName

    meh. . . I’ll never see KitKat . . .


  • Dan

    Ads are going to be everywhere soon. soon I’m going to use an ad blocker via root I’m trying to stay stock while there aren’t many but if the dialer has ads ad block if that don’t Work I’m going to switch is (I don’t want to)

  • Aniruddh

    As long as the ads are unobtrusive, I don’t mind.

  • William Larsson

    Ads wont bother me as long as they are not constantly playing comersials in the background while you’re on a phonecall

  • TournaFlyer

    Let’s see…how can I put this…hmmmmmmmm…END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT!

  • AndroidBrian

    u gotta be fucking kidding me.

  • wtf

    ads in system? it’s a dealbreaker. I’ll go with that iCrap instead.

  • gommer strike

    Adaway. And no, sorry, I’m not “stealing” anything by not viewing your ads. You are not losing revenue from me.

  • Ahmed Zakir

    I hope they don’t turn this code on =/

  • Nathan Powell

    The fact there’s a disable command puts me at ease for now
    I bet this has something to do with the new program they’re going to do with rewarding people for info

  • nhr215

    Any ads in the Android would be the end of Android for me. Either Cyagenmod or, sadly, back to iOS

    • Roberto Tomás

      save yourself from the irony of abandoning android for iOS. go Tizen.

      • Hoggles

        I love how Windows phone isn’t even an option…. LoL….

        • Sam Del Valle

          Never go Windows Phone

        • Steve Tysl

          Since when is windows phone an option?? That still exists?! :-p

  • nhr215
    • NeedName


      The voice ads will be introduced in 4.5. . .

  • Mr3

    I’ve said for years if Google start spamming us with ads I would quit Android

  • George Av

    Fuck that. Ad blocker better work in this. Cos that would seriously piss me off.

  • Reg

    If there wouldn’t be any way to disable it, then I would quit Android for sure! … IOS would be the first alternative (sadly).

    • utilitybelt

      I’d still take windows phone over apple.

  • iamtravis182

    I’m not a fan of this at all. That being said, if there was a way to opt-in/out, and there was some form of incentive to leave them on (ala Amazon’s Kindle), then I guess whatever. Sounds like a bad idea judging by our shared disgust.

  • Stu

    As a new convert to Android I would be back to iOS by the end of the day.

  • adam evans

    I have a feeling adds will show up when you up the app to search for a pizza a s it will pull up paid results first

  • soulsurfer69

    I’m willing to bet if there are ads, it will be local listings like local restaurants of the type you’ve been calling. Like there would be a section for most called people, recently called and local interests to you. I wouldn’t feel too bad about having a nearby sushi shop listed in my phone. :-)

  • samster11

    I love the Android system. I’ve loved the OS since my very first Nexus One.

    I hate the way ios assumes you are a complete Muppet.

    But if this came true (ads in the Android OS) then sadly I would leave the ecosystem.

    Firefox OS/CMod/? I don’t know. But it would be the end of an era for me.

  • Danny

    If that’s true it will be my last day as a ‘droider’ because then, the only place we won’t see an ad on it is our ass (aren’t the ads on Google, YouTube, 90% of android apps enough??!!!)

  • Roberto Tomás

    obviously no one likes these ads. I also don’t like that they integrated Google Now into the base install of the operating system. they are becoming anti competitive at the same time that they are beginning to push advertising into content you already pay for.

    I imagine 5.0 will be out sooner rather than later, just to quell fears that google is stealing android from the community.

  • Hoggles

    No F…ing way. Ads in the core system functions of the OS??

    F NO.

    The backlash would be widespread…. From grandma to 10 year old elite recognized devs…

  • Hoggles

    John Carpenter’s…. They Live.

    Nuff said

  • districtjack

    Ads everywhere on my phone, including my contacts list and dialer? I’d better be getting free unlimited voice and data or android will be history for me. That would be EVIL if they pushed ads on us in every crevice of our phones.

  • Christian Tolentino

    APK for the Dialer please. :) TIA.

  • Christian Tolentino

    no apk yet for the dialer?

  • Gator352

    Ads in core functions of a phone that I purchase is asinine. I will have to seriously consider the competition. I’m already perturbed that they put ads in my voicemail app on Sprint. I know Google sees $$ but they are about to lose $$ from me.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    Guys read the update “A Google rep has reached out to Android Authority clarifying that the code in question is actually quite old, and has appeared in past versions of the dialer. Furthermore, the rep says that Google is not working on bringing ads to the Dialer.”
    so its not coming,

  • iainbong

    If ads are starting to get into our native apps on our Android, I will change to iOS. Period.

  • Groud Frank

    I have been all over looking for actual pictures if the dialer but still can’t find it!