It would seem that the high cost of Samsung's latest flagship devices isn't quite enough for the company. As reported by Droid Life, Samsung will soon be effectively wiping truly free themes from its store when it rolls out Android Pie to its devices next year. Samsung will begin informing users that they will only have 14 days to enjoy their free theme before it automatically reverts back to the default Android skin.
This is puzzling news, and we don't know why Samsung is making this decision, but many have speculated that it's an attempt to push customers to buy paid themes; which Samsung receives a cut of. "We ask for your understanding as we have changed the policy in order to help our designers continue to create high quality products and also to provide stable and satisfactory services for you," Samsung wrote in a notification that's being sent out to its users.
"...we have changed the policy in order to help our designers continue to create high quality products and also to provide stable and satisfactory services for you."
It's not entirely clear how preventing designers from offering their themes for free is going to "help" them create "high quality products," but in the minds of users, this decision will probably come across as an overly-aggressive attempt to monetize what is ultimately a very minor part of the Samsung experience.
There may still be hope, though. While investigating this topic, I found an alternate theory from Droid Life user abqnm that seems reasonably credible. If it's accurate, it would suggest this whole matter is just a miscommunication on Samsung's part.
"There are people who were skirting the free trials of paid themes by disabling the theme store and its support apps to keep it from reverting after installing a trial, essentially stealing paid themes," abqnm wrote. "So Samsung could be increasing the trial period to 2 weeks—but also making them revert automatically regardless of what you disable—so that people are less likely to refund a paid theme that they don't like and they combat the trial abuse."
We'll let you decide what to believe, but for now, we'll be erring on the side of caution by assuming Samsung means precisely what they wrote. If you want to see the full notification for yourself, we've posted an image of it below. We'll update this article if the company clarifies its decision further.
Image courtesy Droid Life