Action Launcher developer Chris Lacy published a Digital Wellbeing competitor last year, ActionDash. While it's lacking the same tight system integration, the app has more features to offer than Google's project, and it even runs on Android versions older than 9 Pie. Over the weekend, Lacy announced that he has decided to sell ActionDash after receiving an offer from SensorTower, which will continue developing the app.
The market intelligence firm wants to use the anonymous data it aggregates through ActionDash to improve its core business, app usage statistics, though it's possible to opt out. Lacy explains,
Sensor Tower is not in the business of collecting and selling personally identifiable information, serving personalized ads, etc. — rather, Sensor Tower might use aggregated, anonymized app usage data from ActionDash to allow its enterprise customers to gain insights such as “engagement in Competing App X increased 20% since its 5.0 update” or “Category Y’s downloads are increasing by 10%”.
Once you accept the new terms, you'll notice that ads have been removed from the app altogether. Additionally, almost all premium features such as Fresh Start, schedules, app usage limits, and more are now free of charge. The Plus in-app purchase remains to give you access to biometric authentications and usage history going back more than seven days for 99 cents. It's possible to opt out of sharing usage data with Sensor Tower, though you won't be able to use some upcoming features like an option to compare your app usage to that of others. The deep Action Launcher integration will also remain intact.
ActionDash has been acquired.
I'd like to thank everyone who used, bought and supported the app during the past 18 months. I look forward to seeing ActionDash flourish going forward, as I transition from being its steward to its keenest advocate.https://t.co/59IcKhHC6R
— Chris Lacy (@chrismlacy) June 19, 2020
Lacy promises the release of a few features he never got around to before the acquisition and is confident that "Sensor Tower is in a much stronger position to devote resources to growing and improving ActionDash than I am." He's hopeful that some "long-gestating-yet-not-quite-finished ActionDash features could be polished and released going forward."
With this announcement, I'm hopeful that ActionDash won't meet the same fate as the developer's innovative approach to a browser, LinkBubble, which was acquired by Brave in 2015, folded into a regular browser, and shut down two years later. However, some privacy concerns remain when it comes to Sensor Tower. Buzzfeed News only recently uncovered that the firm owned at least 20 VPN and adblocking apps that potentially tracked all of its users' online movements, so Lacy saying that "Sensor Tower’s business model and responsible use of data aligns well with my company’s long held practice of respecting user privacy" leaves us with some raised eyebrows.
Note that nothing changes for Action Launcher itself — it's still under Chris Lacy's command.