Verizon is testing a new pre-installed app designed to make app discovery easier for users. Called AppFlash, it is the product of a partnership between Verizon and startup Evie.
AppFlash functions as a search hub on Android that users can access with a right swipe from the home screen. Users can search through listings of restaurants, movies, music, and apps, and jump into a specific app when they find what they're looking for.
AppFlash also provides universal search across all of a user's apps, and suggests new apps users may want to install. AppFlash also uses app virtualization technology, so if a user decides to try out one of the recommended apps, they can test it for up to a minute without installing it.
AppFlash raised some alarms with the Electronic Freedom Foundation, who called the app "spyware" and expressed concern about the possibility of hackers using the app as a backdoor into users' devices. The EFF has since retracted its warnings pending further investigation, as Verizon says AppFlash will only come pre-installed on a single device, the LG K20 V. The app will also be opt-in and easily disabled should customers choose to do so.