XOS is the Infinix’s User Interface and Launcher that powers up Infinix devices running on Android OS. Although Android has its own stock UI (Launcher), device manufacturers normally prefer to include their own launchers on the devices they make, mainly to give their devices that unique identity and feel – so that using an LG device doesn’t have to feel like using a Samsung, an HTC, a Sony or even an Infinix smartphone.
Included with the OEM’s launchers like XOS for Infinix, EMUI for Huawei, HTC Sense for HTC and Touchwiz for Samsung are what we tech bloggers like to refer to as bloatware. These are normally unwanted Apps that device manufacturers insist on including in their respective devices. Infinix is notorious for its Touchpal and PalmChat range of bloatware, whereas Samsung is known for its wide range of bloatware that normally come with the Galaxy App store. The good thing about these bloatware though is that a user can either easily uninstall or disable them via the device’s settings.
In as much as the device manufacturers always allow us to either uninstall or disable a number of bloatware that they pre-install in their devices, there are a few that cannot be uninstalled nor disabled. XCloud is a good example of an App that you can’t disable nor uninstall, even when Android users would prefer to use Google Drive or DropBox for their cloud storage needs. Infinix has taken this capability a step further, to not only include a game bloatware in its latest version of XOS Launcher, but to also make sure that the bloatware cannot be uninstalled nor disabled.
But that’s not the screwing that irks me. What gets into my nerves is the fact that Infinix has decided to run ads right inside the XOS Launcher – which makes me feel like someone who is using a phone Infinix gave out for free to thereafter recoup that free gift via ads.
If you want to see the ads and you are an Infinix user who has updated the XOS Launcher to the latest version (XOSP64 V 3.0), ensure you have a few Apps grouped together in at least one Folder (e.g. the default Social folder). Open the folder, and you’ll see below the folder four or so suggested Apps that you may like. That suggestion is Infinix running ads right inside the Launcher.
The other place you’ll find Infinix ads is right inside the Menu where all Apps are listed. To access the Menu, swipe up from any place on your home screen. You’ll then notice an App most probably at the second row on the extreme right of the Apps, as shown in the image below.
When I noticed this I contacted Infinix via their Twitter account but none of their Twitter representatives bothered to give me any form of feedback.
@InfinixKenya Why have you guys brought app recommendations (ads) inside folders? Do you know how irritating that is? I have already bought the phones, I do not need to see ads of apps you think I may like.
— Chetenet.com (@chetenetKE) July 27, 2018
I’m not the only one irritated by these ads that are right inside XOS Launcher. Over at Google PlayStore, there are a number of Infinix users who have given the App negative reviews stemming from that particular update. Three interesting comments are quoted below:
“I want to know something? Who is the developer of this launcher, no fun, borin, the side bar news don’t refresh, what the hell is this.. After the updates it turns from bad to worse. I wonder why every infinix phone will have launcher like this installed… Smh”
“The adverts are getting out of hand, being the default launcher on my device I’m thinking of getting another device now, very disappointing… It was a great launcher but it becoming very unfriendly”
“Contains lots of ads in the name of App recommendations and Headlines. They can be switched off in highly hidden settings namely other settings. But even after switching them off, they still sneak in app recommendations. It is now a crappy launcher.”
The screwing doesn’t end there. I also realised that after the update, I had a new but permanent Google Search bar right on top of every screen. However, when I used the search bar to search the web, the results that were displayed were not anything close to results you would expect from Google Search. For example, I searched for “define beg” so that I could use the Google’s define feature launched five years ago to get synonyms of the word beg. However, the so-called ‘Google Search’ by XOS Launcher did not define the word – let alone provide the needed synonyms. When I did the same search right inside Chrome, I got what I needed. That’s when I realised that the search engine included in the XOS Launcher has got nothing to do with Google. A closer examination revealed that the search engine was powered by a non-functioning searchdogs.com website.
The latter screwing is not only irritating but malicious and scrupulous too. Infinix has not only included a useless search engine in its launcher that will not serve you in the way you would expect, but it has gone ahead to name it Google Search. Average users who are not tech savvy will not even realise that they are using a non-Goggle search engine.
After being irritated by the ads and the malicious search engine, I decided to abandon the screwed up XOS Launcher and opt for Microsoft Launcher. Right now things are running as smoothly as anyone would expect a normal smartphone to run. Microsoft Launcher is not even forcing me (by constant reminders) to download their Microsoft Apps such as Skype, Excel, Word, etc – Apps that, well, I would rather not use.