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Google Straightens Out Its Stance On Paid Apps 55

Julie188 writes "When the Android Market began offering paid apps last month, developers with the unlocked version of Google's Android phone quickly learned that they couldn't access them. The policy, which threatened to alienate the small developer base that Google needs to nurture at all costs, didn't make much sense. And now, with the release of Version 1.1 of Android for the developer phone, developers can access paid apps — as long as they aren't copy-protected. But in a weird way, that's good news. Very few developers currently copy-protect their Android apps simply because Android's copy-protection scheme is notoriously weak."
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Google Straightens Out Its Stance On Paid Apps

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  • by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @08:22AM (#27148627) Homepage

    With this change "free" (as in beer) applications which also set the copy-protection bit will also be excluded from the market. A bit weird, why would you prevent copying of a gratis application.

    Now if I only get WLAN working on my Android. The university network uses IEEE8021X,TTLS,PAP. But wpa_supplicant keeps timing out during authentication. :(

    • by Bizzeh ( 851225 )

      xperia x1 ftw

      • by XiC ( 207670 )

        Does it run the android apps?
        Does it run the iPhone apps?
        You don't need no stinking apps/app store because you have all the apps you need...

        Please ellaborate...

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      Your wpa_supplicant.conf should look something this:


      • I have something like that, but with key_mgmt=IEEE8021X

        The hidden unencrypted GUEST network does work. But obviously I want to use the proper encrypted network.

        Considering this is also the first time I use wpa_supplicant, the Android might not be the best platform to get to know how wpa_supplicant works. Also, I'm not completely sure if all the required wpa_supplicant features are actually included in Android.

        Anyway, I've only been playing around with that part for an hour (and still need to update to the 1

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by severoon ( 536737 )

          I don't understand. I loaded the article, read the first three posts, but didn't see a flame, a troll, or a "F1R5TTT p05ttt!11!1!eleven!1!". Where am I?

          • In an android post. Look at the Star Trek article posted *after* this one. >300 posts.
            This one? 50.

            Tells you all you need to know about the interest in Android...

        • One thought: In non-WPA mode, wpa_supplicant will attempt to connect to APs that are using WPA. Could it be that some WPA-enabled AP is causing difficulties/interference?

    • A bit weird, why would you prevent copying of a gratis application.

      Because you don't want it to turn up everywhere on the internet. Example: I released a open beta test of my Symbian OS application [1] and soon after it turned up everywhere on the Warez sites. That would not have been the problem. But the copies turned up without any reference to the beta test program or the application homepage or anything.

      The vain Warez supplier would not give any credit to the author at all. Authors don't exist for them. Psychological understandable: If they given credit to the author t

  • Not copy protecting your software actually gives you a bigger market to sell to.

    Can someone please call the RIAA and inform them?

  • Okay, perhaps someone needs to develop an application that can run other applications, and which does not impose any copy restrictions. Then you only have to download/buy an application *once*, and you're basically freed from this nonsense. Perhaps also a good idea for the iphone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This was previously tried and failed. It was called 'Windows 3.x'.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wouldn't work. Under the Android security model, apps run as different UNIX users. They don't have access to each other's secret bits. "Secret bits" includes the APK itself if the app is copyrighted.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by StripedCow ( 776465 )
        ok, what i meant was a "platform-in-a-platform", which has its own operating semantics, independent from the underlying os. in that way, you can still develop for a "locked" phone, since you just target the platform-in-a-platform instead of the real platform.
        • Hum, I think I see your point.
          Maybe something that encapsulates and virtualizes the machine in a way that would make it independent on the processor and OS?
          Hum I think you should patent the idea. Maybe you could call it "Interpreted framework for platform independent development". I'm so shure it doesn't exist.

  • by booyabazooka ( 833351 ) <> on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @09:08AM (#27149007)

    Apple has apparently decided that "App" is a new word meaning software on a cell phone, but that doesn't make it true for the rest of the world.

  • "Paid Apps" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @10:49AM (#27150383) Homepage Journal

    I am still trying to figure out what that means. I figured one of the pages linked to would define it, but no. Does it just mean software that is for sale, or is it more nuanced than that?

    Fuckin' newspeak. :(

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I am still trying to figure out what that means. I figured one of the pages linked to would define it, but no. Does it just mean software that is for sale, or is it more nuanced than that?

      Fuckin' newspeak. :(

      It's an app that costs money. You see, unlike Apple' App Store, until recently, the Android App Store only had free apps. Recently, Google started allowing people to charge money for their apps.

      The interesting thing about the Android App Store is that it allows people 24 hours to "return" an app. This c

    • Re:"Paid Apps" (Score:4, Informative)

      by docwhat ( 3582 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @01:46PM (#27153895) Homepage

      Apps have two "flags" that can be set:
        * Paid -- a payment is required.
        * Copy Protected -- The user isn't allowed to copy the app.

      With ADP1.1, you can see and download applications as long as they don't have the copy protection flag turned on.

      This means you can purchase apps or download the free ones; unless the app is copy protected.

      This is because the copy protection is simply filesystem based: the apps are placed in a directory only root can access.

      If you have an ADP1.1, the you can access this copy protected directory.

      Google claimed that they deliberately didn't do "forward-locking" because it was error prone and ruined the experience for users.


  • This article to me, seems like nothing more than trying to spin something very wrong into a fain positive.

    Yes this will generally force developers to not protect apps. But then why even offer the protection to start with? It's like it does not exist.

    The positive side is as stated, fewer apps will be protected. But think about that - why is that really positive? If you can always re-download apps from the store, what good does that do an end user? If you don't really need it for backup, to most users a

    • The developer devices are open. If there was a way to keep developers out, then it wouldn't be an open platform anymore. Producers can keep their DRM infested crap to themselves thank you very much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      From a technical perspective this comes about from the app DRM just being about protected folders which developers can access, Google needs a more solid solution.

      There is no more solid solution. ADP phones got root, and the OS is fully open source (no HDMI-like "protected path").

      End of story.

      • There is no more solid solution. ADP phones got root, and the OS is fully open source

        So what? It's not like the iPhone app DRM hasn't been broken, you need to make SOMETHING reasonable by default available even if it can (and will) be broken later.

        The simple truth is that producers care more about there being an attempt to protect product rather than actual success. It's to Android's detriment they cannot get past the point where you are at, unable to move past the fact that DRM never actually works long

        • I agree with you, and as a would-be Android dev and ADP owner I want them to succeed too. They had to do something, knowing it would be broken. They could have done a little bit more than install into a private dir. But it wouldn't have taken any longer than it has to break it, and the results would be pretty identical from a user's perspective. I think the Pre is DOA though

          • Why do you think the Pre is DOA? I don't think it will have the breadth of apps that the iPhone and Android will have, but I think it's a pretty good alternate take on the touchscreen smartphone that will offer a migration path for current Palm users (those not on Windows Mobile palm devices anyway).

              • there are hardly any Palm OS users left anymore, they all left for iPhone or WM
              • Palm squandered their market leadership and consumer confidence years ago
              • Pre is a completely new untested OS
              • the market is already crowded
              • Apple owns the "Custom-designed" smartphone market, WM6 and Google will own the "Commodity hardware" smartphone market, what's left for Pre?
              • Pre's claim to fame is integrated calendaring, which is just an app on the other phones -- should not be an OS feature.
  • Sigh... this is still a big disappointment. When this all exploded last week on the developer's forum, I made a post to ask one of the Google/Android employees to clarify the situation.

    Timing wasn't a big issue for me, I just wanted an assurance that at some point in the future I could use the developer phone to both develop my FOSS program and use the phone as my primary device. That means that I might occasionally want to actually buy something from the store.

    But all I got was a rather unclear response.

  • I own a normal, non-dev G1. I am not a t-mobile customer.

    I can't buy paid apps.

    Why? Google won't say why, won't respond to questions on this. It makes little sense.. but it seems that their current restrictions (what country you can buy from) are based upon whether or not you are a t-mobile customer, and in what country.

    I haven't (yet) heard of anyone being able to buy apps, without a t-mobile sim. Can anyone refute this?

    • by Blymie ( 231220 ) *

      Oh, and other thing.

      Android is not about t-mobile, or a cell phone, or any some such.

      Not only has the G1 been rooted (making the lockout of the dev phones strange), but there will also be other devices.

      Can you imagine an Android laptop without root? Is Google essentially stating that all 'copy protected' apps will be unusable for all but cell phones, and locked down ones at that?

      This is going to be the minority of devices...

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