Firm wants ads on Samsung phones

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Firm wants ads on Samsung phones

InMobi, a mobile advertising startup backed by SoftBank Group, is partnering with Samsung Electronics and other device makers, as it targets reaching 650 million smartphone users.

The partnership will embed technology in hardware so that ads display while users are on their device’s home or lock screens, InMobi CFO Manish Dugar said in an interview. The company is working with the “biggest names you can think of” and has signed up two companies outside of India and four inside, Dugar said, declining to name the vendors.

InMobi makes most of its sales with ads in more than 35,000 smartphone applications, such as offers for rides through Uber Technologies’ cab-hailing service while a user is browsing Flipkart Online Services’ online store. The embedded technology will bypass apps to reach people while they do other things on their device, helping it compete better against Google and Facebook for revenue.

“InMobi has seen tremendous growth to become one of the biggest names in mobile advertising globally,” Neha Dharia, a Bengaluru-based analyst at Ovum Plc, said by e-mail. “In order to keep up with the heavy hitters like Google and Facebook, they need to constantly be innovating and building on their strength - that of serving the mobile first consumer.”

Working with manufacturers also enables InMobi to collect data on people’s location and usage patterns, Dugar said. Information from dozens of internal sensors in the device help understand the mood and activity of a phone user.

“Data enriches my understanding,” Dugar said in the July 20 interview in Bengaluru. “If the sensors show you’re looking at your phone from a reclined angle, I know you are relaxing and I will show you an ad for some soothing music from a singer that I know you like.”

Samsung is working closely with InMobi, the company said.

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