Google-backed Glance to launch in US within two months

Glance, a subsidiary of adtech giant InMobi Group, is planning to launch its lockscreen platform on Android smartphones in the U.S. within two months, a source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The startup is engaging with wireless carriers in the U.S. for partnerships and is gearing up to launch on several smartphone models by next month, the source said, requesting anonymity as the deliberations are ongoing and private.

Glance, valued at around $2 billion, serves media and current affairs content and casual games on Android handsets’ lockscreens. The service, which has amassed presence on about 400 million smartphones in Asian markets, is building a “premium offering” for the U.S., where individuals have higher propensity to pay for digital services, the source said.

A spokesperson for Glance declined to comment Tuesday. The startup said in February that it planned to expand globally in the coming years.

The tie-up with U.S. carriers is a shift in strategy for Glance, which maintains direct relationships with nearly every Android smartphone maker in Asia. But in the U.S., carriers command most of the smartphone sales and handsets are sold bundled with mobile data plans.

Three-year-old Glance is largely credited for identifying an opportunity to serve content on the lockscreen, prized real-estate which monetization has enabled smartphone vendors to boost their revenue in recent years. The startup personalizes content feed on the lockscreen based on users’ interests, prompting them to engage deeply with content.

In a move that further cemented Glance’s model, Apple said last month that it will be revamping the lockscreen on iOS with widgets, real-time info and other personalization features.

The fast adoption of Glance has helped it attract several high-profile investors, including Google and Jio Platforms, India’s largest telecom carrier with over 420 million subscribers.

In recent months, the startup has been testing live commerce on its platform and is also engaging with television vendors to bring Glance to their customer TV operating systems. Glance is also a core offering in Pragati OS, the custom Android operating system developed by Google and Jio Platforms for affordable smartphones.