back to article Google bars Android app makers from their own apps

If you join the Android developer program, Google will sell you an unlocked Android phone that works on any mobile network. But it can't download paid applications from Google's very own app market. The Android Market began offering price-tagged applications late last week - at least in the US - but developers wielding …


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  1. myxiplx
    IT Angle

    Err... it's a *development* platform

    I really don't see the issue with selling a development platform that can only be used for developing your own apps on.

    Unless google have marketed this as a fully functional android phone that you can *also* use for development, I don't really see the issue with $400 spent on a device dedicated to one purpose.

    And it sounds like this restriction has a sound basis too, it's not an arbitrary ban, so you could do with loosing the sensationalist headline.

  2. Dean

    Got root?

    This could be done on any rooted G1 though, which there are many about..

    Are they going to ban paid downloads altogether soon?

  3. Matt Bradley
    Thumb Down

    Odd slant on this piece

    "So, Google has banned downloads of copy-protected apps on developer phones. The result: Many developers are prevented from downloading their own applications."


    "So, Google has banned downloads of copy-protected apps on developer phones. The result: Developers are protected from loss of income from piracy of their code, but might have to buy a regular phone if they want test downloading their app."

    There. Fixed that for you.

    Honestly: this seems to be a small price to pay. Seriously: how many developers are going to want to skimp on the cost of a second phone, if the result is that they lose a large percentage of their app sales income to piracy?

    Any serious app developer who queries this is an idiot.

  4. Gary Barber

    What's the problem really?

    Gosh! So software developers can't download software that they already have because they developed it? How inconvenient.

  5. Rob Farnell

    Workaround available in


    I think again this is a due diligence action where Google have to demonstrate that they are at least trying to make preventative actions against copyright infringement to keep the clients happy, but it will be a cat and mouse approach to making the occasional fix to whatever breaches the community manage to figure out.

  6. jon fisher
    Dead Vulture

    A non-story

    this is completely reasonable. there is no issue.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Bradley

    > Developers are protected from loss of income from piracy of their code

    But developers are not protected against all the other ways in which their code could be pirated, e.g. buying a regular G1 and "rooting" it, so this doesn't really help them very much.

    People who bought this device will be pissed off because they could have bought a regular G1 and "rooted" it and got something more functional: it could be used for development and as a regular phone. And it would have been cheaper. Instead they bought this special phone because it was the "official" way to do development, and now they find they have to spend more $$$ to get a real G1 if they want, for example, to see what other developers are producing.

    The real question, though, is why the so-called "copy protection" is so crude.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is...

    ...that Google should have had a better anti-piracy measure in place in the first place so that such a bone-headed, idiotic decision wouldn't have been required.

    @ Matt Bradley

    So people doing it just for fun or in their spare time are to be barred from developing apps are they... and they call Appletards 'elitist', sheesh!

  9. David


    add a clause which excludes refunds from dev phone contracts

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The same is true on the Xbox 360

    The same is true with Xbox 360 devkits - they can't play retail games, and they don't have access to the public xbox live network, just Partner Net. This is because you can debug any application running on them, which is clearly a security risk.

    They cost more than the G1 too.

  11. Mark

    If only this were Microsoft

    This article would already have 60+ comments commenting on how horrible Microsoft is, likely with many uses of $ when people mean s, as well as comments as to how poor the Copyright protection is.

  12. Jonny F
    Thumb Up

    Developers can install and buy their own apps

    Developers can install their own apps on their own phones - as a normal part o the development process. That's why the developers bought a phone, to test on a real device *before* launching the app in the Market

    Developers can get their app from the Market, if they choose to not have copy protection. When you launch an app in the Market there's a radio button. Copy protection / no copy protection.

    Developers can change any of the Marlet App options, including the copy protection. So they could launch v 1.0.0 with no copy protection, go buy it themselves, then turn copy protection on. At the very least turn it on with an identical build marked v1.0.1

    You would think if they were smart enough to write the code and deploy the app they could work this out and stop whining. Apparently not for the vocal few.

    Much more interesting (and complicated?) is the fact that the Google leaves the responsibility of collecting sales tax (applicable on canned software) to each developer.

  13. Mectron

    As usual

    Copy Protection serving NO USEFULL purpose beside prevent legal users from using devices and software that have been PAID FOR.

  14. Tom Paine

    GPL breach?

    I was under the impression that one of the core "six freedoms" that make up the FSF's definition of "Free" (as instantiated by the GPL device) is that anyone who you distribute the code to must be able to access the source, modify it and then compile and run the modified code. Here, see for yourself:

    So if I buy a Gphone thingy, I should be getting a copy of the source (or easy clear pointers to where to get it), plus the docs necessary to hack (examine, modify, use and redistribute) it. If the standard phone doesn't do that out of the box, and it uses the Linux kernel, surely that's a breach of the GPL?

    Mine's the one with the FSF membership card in the pocket...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    >This could be done on any rooted G1 though, which there are many about..

    Provided you can be bothered wth all the problems that brings in respect of realistic testing and maintainance. And Pros cannot.

    Dumb article that misses the point entirely - its another good example of the difference between the Google and Apple philosophies and respect for developers if you think about it for about 2 seconds.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pointless measures

    This is kind of a moot point, as you can flash an Android Dev Phone to run the standard or consumer software and it would be no different than any other G1 in the eyes of google. Not to mention that anyone who owns an Android Dev Phone or has flashed their G1 to its software is very likely to have no issues doing so.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So, as a developer, I can't... an app that I already have? Horrors! Is there any point to this article other than moaning about Google (again)?

  18. Rob Elliott

    @ Tom Paine

    Tom Paine

    Exactly... I couldn't have said it better myself.

    The whole purpose of the Android, was destined to be OPEN SOURCE, which is a free distribution of software and applications.

    The linux community each write code, share it for it to be checked, edited and further created better first time around.

    I personally have no experience in the programming side of things yet, but am learning how to for myself, and part of the Open Source ideal is the fact that each software is unprotected, comes with what it does, how it does it and the coding for debugging etc.

    How dare Google create an open source phone, when its not adhering to the GPL rules.

    Simple. Google, get back to the Open Source idealism, as I certainly am not interested in it.

    For those of you rooting your device, enjoy your expensive brick, as thats what it will turn out to be with one easy mistake!

  19. James Hughes

    re: GPL

    As I understand GPL and Android, the O/S is based on Linux so is Open Source as it's covered by the GPL. The applications are not, unless they use code which is GPL'd, where copyleft applies.

    So the phrase above "The whole purpose of the Android, was destined to be OPEN SOURCE, which is a free distribution of software and applications." is incorrect. Applications are not necessarily OpenSource.

    Same as apps running on desktop Linux are not OpenSource, even though the OS is.

    There are also some misunderstandings of what you 'get' with open source. You don't for example, necessarily get docs, compilers, coding for debugging etc. You get the source code. Do with it what you will.

    I imagine Google do adhere to the GPL rules where they apply. But willing to be corrected in the face of evidence. None of which this article and associated comments supplies.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    If you want to pirate apps...

    Just get a normal G1 and unlock it...

  21. Dave Hooper

    What has this got to do with GPL?

    I'm not sure how the comments of this article seem to have been hijacked by ill-informed 'Google don't adhere to GPL' rants - the Android OS is open-source and freely downloadable/buildable. Just because T-Mobile sold you a phone that has development features disabled doesn't mean the phone isn't running an open-source operating system. The details are no different than for all the other millions of embedded devices that run some variant of Linux. I also can't see any problem either with Google offering for sale development kits that exhibit different behaviour from retail phones.

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