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Old 01. Sep 2013, 06:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Farewell, avast Mobile Security...

While trying to update the "best free antvirus app for Android", I had to reinstall several apps to confirm all the changes they claim they did.

Truth is, some apps have kept pace with the updates and enhaced features, while others unfortunately didn't. Sadly, Avast Mobile Security is one of them.

Why? Well, the guys at avast have apparently changed their mind about keeping avast as a freeware app, turning it into a freemium security app instead, which means you have to perform those infamous "in-app" purchases to keep the app and its key components updated and running correctly. If you ever had avast installed, I'm sure you know that one of the best components avast had was the anti-theft, which is now sadly part of that scheme and it will stop working until you update avast to the latest version, meaning you cannot use the anti-theft if you have one of the good old (and fully free) previous avast versions.

I'm afraid avast has decided to follow a vainglorious path, telling its users "no more free goods for you guys". Luckily, there is a ton of free security apps there that will try to capture all those former (and now MAD) avast users and will give some great stuff for free (at least for some time) and then this cycle will start again.

For the time being, all I can say is "farewell" to avast, for I don't need it anymore, or at least not on its current state.

Are you a current or a former avast user? What are your thoughts about these recent changes? I'll wait for your comments.
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Old 01. Sep 2013, 06:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sad indeed, but with desktop use declining and mobile hardware enjoying "open season" for malware writers, mobile software developers will obviously be trying to cash in on this themselves.
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Old 01. Sep 2013, 07:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I am a current Avast user, i use it both on my desktop and mobile. But, i am not aware of any such changes thanks for taking these in my notice. Anyways i am moving to TrustGo for my mobile in a day or two, but i think its a bad move for avast.
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Old 01. Sep 2013, 07:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I use Avast on my Android tablet and Lookout on my phone. I was just getting ready to go with Avast on my phone. I also have not seen these changes with Avast?! When did this happen? I have not been notified of any changes?

Can you post a link that discusses these changes?
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Old 01. Sep 2013, 08:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I actually removed Avast to save RAM (100MB out of 1GB), since Google now provides all I need in the form of Android Device Manager and Verify apps.

With the scarcity of malicious apps in Google Play, PrivacyScanner and VirusTotal is more than enough. Only non-Play apps are Adblock Plus, Adobe Flash, and Opera Mobile Labs (w/ extensions).
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Old 01. Sep 2013, 09:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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IO.Hazard, I have Avast on my mobile phone, but I haven't come across the changes that you are talking about.

The version on my phone is 3.0.6158.

It seems to be working fine without any problems, without asking for any in-app purchases.

I haven't installed the Anti-theft feature of it though, which requires to be installed manually. So, I don't know if installing that triggers any alerts, or pop-ups.

But, otherwise, it's working fine.

I also checked the latest comments on the Avast app page to see if similar comments as yours are there, but there are no comments which will suggest any changes made by Avast in the free version as you describe. Mostly, there are positive comments.

So, are you sure of the changes that you write about? Maybe uninstall and re-install Avast AV on your phone again, to be sure of these changes.

From what I have seen so far, Avast team won't make such a move. But, with recent trends, you never know.

But from what I see, I am yet to come across any of the changes you write about.

I also checked Google Play updates, and there is not a new version of Avast available yet.

They even provide a setting in Settings, to disable the "Go Premium" button shown on the dashboard.
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Old 02. Sep 2013, 05:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Anupam, I think most people who don't realize about these recent changes are users who are just updating the app. However, users who are re-installing the app are becoming aware of this, as it gets a little bit more obvious because of the "welcome screen".

These are some of the screenshots I took from the welcome screen after I installed avast's new version. The comparison list between the "free" and "premium" versions is pretty clear (and it confirms what I said about the anti-theft).

This is the "upgrade to premium" screen...



...and this is the comparison list (it was a bit long, so i had to take two screenshots)



I thought I'd see the upgrade to premium screen just once, but it showed up every once in a while - in fact, it always showed up after avast updated the malware definitions - even after I disabled the "go premium" button on the dashboard.

As a former avast user and fan, I can say the differences with this new version are easy to spot. However, I must admit avast has done a good job using the "let's-hope-they-don't-notice-until-it's-all-done" strategy.

Still don't believe me? The now promoted "ad detector" was part of the app (truth is it worked under the radar, meaning there was no setting to enable or disable it) but it did a great detecting those sneaky adware apps, now you have to pay for that as it has become a newly "added" feature...

Is avast still free? Yes it is, although not in the same way it was before. As soon as an app goes commercial, it means you'll get less free stuff and more annoying ads asking you to upgrade the app. IMHO avast is now more similtar to Lookout (which is not a bad app at all) but it has lost its status as an app of reference for it has lost its 100% free previous scheme.

Last edited by IO.Hazard; 02. Sep 2013 at 05:34 AM. Reason: comparison screenshots put next to each other.
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Old 02. Sep 2013, 06:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Like Anupam, I checked Google Store and found no reference to these changes. In addition, I've not heard a peep from the folks over at Wilder's. In fact, a Google search for "Avast Mobile Security changes" results in no information either. Either they are keeping this super-quiet, or people haven't noticed the changes yet.

From what Hazard posts, I don't see anything on the premium side that I feel like I'm missing out of.


P.S. Avast scored pretty well on the latest AV-Comparatives Mobile Review (August), found at:
http://www.av-comparatives.org/mobile-security/
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Last edited by Anupam; 02. Sep 2013 at 10:57 AM. Reason: replaced link to direct download of file with the link to report page
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Old 02. Sep 2013, 11:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the detailed answer IO.Hazard.

Yes, I have been just updating Avast AV, since I have it on my mobile since a long time now, since its earlier versions.

I will uninstall the app, and install it again, and see how much of a bother, or how much restricted, or feature-less, the free version feels now.

Will post my observations here when I do that.
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Old 02. Sep 2013, 12:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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OK, I uninstalled Avast and reinstalled it again. I will lay down my thoughts.

I got the welcome screen after installation was over, the one for which IO.Hazard posted screenshots. I found it clearly laid out, as to what features are available in premium version, and also a clear comparison table. Looking at the comparison, I personally am quite OK with the features available in the free version, and I don't feel that these make the free version crippled.

Even the features of anti-theft and mobile backup of Avast, for free version, are quite adequate.

The Privacy Advisor is there like before. Although, I do understand from IO.Hazard's post, that a part of it might be now called "Ad Detector". Again, it's OK with me. Atleast the Privacy Advisor does alert you about privacy related issues like before.

As written above, I did not find the features in free version limited. I also did not feel like I would want to go for the features in the premium version.

I did not find any intrusive pushing for premium version in the free version. Although, appearance of the welcome screen with details of premium version after every update might be a bother, but as a user of free version, I am OK with it... unless it starts to interrupt the normal usage of the mobile/tablet. Although, I have yet to come across that welcome screen after update. Atleast I haven't come across it on my mobile yet.

So, all in all, yes, Avast is now basically a freemium app, having a free version with bundled premium features that unlock when you are willing to pay for them.

But, the free version does not feel crippled. I also did not find any intrusive practice to push users to upgrade to the premium version, so I am quite OK with it. The features of the free version remain like before.

Although yes, as IO.Hazard says in this post of his, from the discussion in the review on the main site:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/cont...comment-110459

bundling of the premium features with the free version might make the app heavy in usage, and use more memory.
The irregular behavior of web shield also might be a cause of bother.

Still, I don't think it's time to say goodbye to Avast yet. The protection is still top notch, with excellent detection, and with good features in the free version. Personally, I feel it's still a good free app, compared to some other free antivirus apps.

I personally am not bothered with the recent changes, and will continue to keep using Avast AV for mobile.

But yes, if you want an app which is fully free, and with good features, without the bundling of premium version features, then there are other free antivirus apps out there, which do an excellent job. TrustGo is one such app, which provides great detection rates, and other features, being all free. I was just reading its features, and I was impressed with it. So, that's a good option. IO.Hazard has already updated the review recently, so the review can be consulted to see other good free antivirus apps. I highly recommend his review, which is quite thorough and excellent.

Best Free Antivirus App for Android

Regarding Avast personally though, I will differ from IO.Hazard in the sense that I don't think it's time for alarm yet. I understand that IO.Hazard is a bit bothered with how Avast is starting to look like a freemium app, which was totally free before. Ideally, I would too have liked Avast to remain free, with maybe a separate premium version. But, still I think Avast remains a good app, and an excellent contender for security app.

Although yes, I will agree with IO.Hazard, if because of these recent changes, he decides to downgrade the ratings for Avast a bit, because there are other totally free apps like TrustGo, which offer great features being fully free.

It's definitely not time to bid farewell to Avast Mobile Security yet .
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Last edited by Anupam; 02. Sep 2013 at 12:21 PM. Reason: Corrections and additions to content.
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