When Apple announced that it would allow content blockers on its Safari mobile site last year, the ad industry predicted an ad-blocking apocalypse.
Now Samsung is following Apple, enabling content blockers in its pre-installed Android browser. The feature was made available for phones with the Android Marshmallow operating system yesterday.
People could set up ad blockers on the Android system prior to this, including on Samsung phones. But Samsung now is enabling such extensions on its default browser. Apps already announcing they have Samsung-supported ad-blocker extensions are Adblock Fast, Adblock Plus and Crystal, which was a very popular download when Apple first supported content blockers. (Content blockers allow users to block more than ads, including certain images or words.)
It's not immediately clear how much of an impact this will have on adblocking, as it's not clear how many people use Samsung's default browser versus, say, a Google Chrome browser.
In the U.S., Apple has long been the smartphone leader, commanding 44.1% market share in November, according to comScore. Samsung is the second in line, with 27.4% market share, followed by LG at 9.1% and Motorola at 4.7%. Though Samsung trails apple in the U.S., it's still the world's largest smartphone maker as of the third quarter of 2015, according to IDC.
When Apple launched iOS 9 in September, users flocked to the App Store to download apps liek Crystal, Peace and Purify, which all topped the download charts in the couple weeks following the new operating system. That's since died down, and those apps no longer top the charts and haven't for some time.
And even though ad blocking was possible on Android phones, there were some hoops to jump through. According to the Verge:
"Blocking ads and other content on Android has not been as simple as installing a browser extension, and Google's own Chrome browser, which is preinstalled on Android phones, often alongside another browser, such as Samsung's Internet, does not yet support content blockers. Some third-party browsers, such as the recently announced Brave, offer integrated ad-blocking features, but have not proven to be nearly as popular as Chrome. As a result, while blocking ads on desktop browsers is a common practice, most people don't bother blocking them on mobile."
According to a Samsung developer site, the content-blocking feature will be disabled by default, but when users download registered apps, the content-blocking menu will become available.