Tech

AnTuTu Benchmark Apps Have Been Removed From Google’s Play Store

By Bill Toulas / March 9, 2020

Google has decided to remove the AnTuTu benchmarking apps from the Play Store, without giving any explanation on the reasoning behind this decision. Most likely, the problem with the apps is their largest shareholder, Cheetah Mobile, which is based in Beijing, China. Google has been accusing a number of Chinese apps of being too untrustworthy to be given the "Play Protect" badge, and it looks like none of Cheetah’s products were spared from this removal wave. Thus, the AnTuTu 3DBench, AnTuTu Benchmark, and AITUTU Benchmark were all ousted from the Play Store, although they remain available on Apple’s App Store.

The response from the CEO of Cheetah Mobile, Zhao Chen, was immediate. He stated that Cheetah Mobile became the software’s larger shareholder only in 2014 and that AnTuTu is older and proven to be safe and secure. He said that the company never "touched" AnTuTu’s Google Play account, never tried to get actively involved in anything related to its functionality or security, and never even tried to do any promotion through it. While Google’s motives aren’t clear, Mr. Chen believes that the reason for the removal is because the Privacy Policy link is now pointing to a Cheetah Mobile address.

AnTuTu is a well-known and widely-used benchmarking tool for smartphones and tablets. Its scores have become the golden standard of objective performance measurement for smartphones in general, and many publications are using it to estimate how well a new device does under load. It was established in 2011, supports many platforms, and offers a large variety of tests, from checking the health of your battery to running demanding 3D scenes, network speed tests, or CPU load stresses. AnTuTu is so popular right now that Google’s removal will not stop people from fetching the APK right from the source.

Cheetah Mobile has been trapped in a storm of criticism and controversy many times in the past, so Google’s move is somewhat understandable. In September last year, the company’s "Security Master" app was found to engage in adware-related activities. Earlier, in December 2018, two apps made by Cheetah Mobile called "CM File Manager" and "CM Launcher" were removed from the Play Store for containing code that executes click injection and click flooding. In April 2014, the "Clean Master" app made by Cheetah Mobile was found to be pushing deceptive pop-ups that confused the users with fake claims about virus infections. All in all, the history of Cheetah Mobile isn’t exactly benign, and this is where the trouble for AnTuTu originates from.



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