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Google Straightens Out Its Stance On Paid Apps

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago

Google 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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55 comments

"Free" applications also affected (4, Interesting)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27148627)

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. :(

Re:"Free" applications also affected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27148673)

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. :(

Could you describe how you even got to wpa_supplicant, or do you have an unlocked version yourself?

Re:"Free" applications also affected (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 5 years ago | (#27148797)

xperia x1 ftw

Re:"Free" applications also affected (1)

XiC (207670) | more than 5 years ago | (#27149709)

Why??
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:"Free" applications also affected (1, Offtopic)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27148921)

Your wpa_supplicant.conf should look something this:


ctrl_interface=/var/run/wpa_supplicant
ctrl_interface_group=0
eapol_version=1
ap_scan=1
fast_reauth=1
network={
                ssid="YOURSSID"
                key_mgmt=WPA-EAP
                eap=TTLS
                anonymous_identity="anonymous"
                identity="USERNAME"
                password="YOURSECRET"
                priority=2
                phase2="auth=PAP"
}

(The ctrl_interface path might be different on the Android, so YMMV)

Re:"Free" applications also affected (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27149905)

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 1.1 release.)

Re:"Free" applications also affected (2, Funny)

severoon (536737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27151761)

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?

Re:"Free" applications also affected (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27155721)

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...

Re:"Free" applications also affected (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27155201)

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?

Lack of Respect for Software Authors. (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27163293)

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 they would need to admit to them self that they are thieving bastards. This is new generation of software pirates which have nothing in common with the hackers of my youth.

So yes: I would consider to set the "no-copy" flag on even on gratis application.

Martin

[1] http://fx-602p.krischik.com/ [krischik.com]

People like to be locked in? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27148719)

Why would anyone buy a device or choose a platform that locks them in?

iphone/Android vs open general purpose device that doesn't need a sim card to work.
Facebook vs email/jabber

Re:People like to be locked in? (2, Informative)

Hannes2000 (1113397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27148875)

seriously: please show me the counterpart to iphone/android that works as flawlessly as email works compared to facebook. and don't say openmoko -- I already own one, and it sucks monkeyballs as an everyday phone.

Re:People like to be locked in? (3, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27148901)

Yes, yes it does.

Have you been following the android dev work for it though?

One of the more recent images even had GPRS working...

Re:People like to be locked in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27161425)

Wow, GRPS! Such an achievement for a phone that's been on sale for more then a year now.

PROTIP: Buy a phone where all the features work on day one. I don't pay for the right to fix your own god damn product.

Re:People like to be locked in? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27148989)

iphone/Android vs open general purpose device that doesn't need a sim card to work.

Android is not a device it is a software platform that can be installed on different devices. The number of devices is not yet large, but there already are some open devices on which you can run it. And Android does not need a sim card to work. You can connect an Android phone to a WiFi access point.

world stock markets up 7-10% in just 2 days (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27148763)

scary. opens the window for many (older folks) who have lost nearly all, & are still paying attention (cheap enough) to recoup a few more pennies on the $.

why must the last of our dwindling dough be siphoned into the wall street of deceit betting pool, with short sellers, & folks from other countries, taking it all home at the end of the day?

as some things are clearly changing, other failed processes are being clung to as though our lives/well being depended on them. very misleading, as the total opposite is closer to the facts. the disproportionate allocation of assets has not changed... yet. we're still being encouraged to be debtors for life.

please do not be confused between 'religion' & being spiritual. taking care of each other is our purpose here. somehow that's become background noise to the greed/fear/ego based trappings of man'kind'.

Re:world stock markets up 7-10% in just 2 days (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27149019)

1) Stock market manipulation is a lot harder than it sounds. Unless you have a very large, organized group of investors doing the short-selling, it won't work. Not only that, it'll attract a lot of attention very quickly.

2) Encouragement of the mainstream to be debtors for life goes back to the very foundings of civilization. Don't expect it to change.

3) You're right about point 3, but few seem to really understand what that means.

So... lemme get this straight... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27148855)

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

Can someone please call the RIAA and inform them?

Re:So... lemme get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27149217)

They've been told already. They just don't get it.

Re:So... lemme get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27152843)

RIAA members have been selling un-DRMED music for decades. (I wouldn't have over a thousand CDs if they didn't work, duh.) Copy protection is extremely unusual in music, and the few times it has been tried, it's usually been a disaster. AFAIK, Apple is the only one who has ever really gotten away with it on a noticeable scale.

You might be thinking of the MPAA. They are the ones who have taken a consistent stand against selling their own products.

RIAA has only been throwing money away on lawyers. MPAA avoids collecting that money in the first place. One represents bad businesses; one represents fake businesses.

And I thought Google wasn't evil... (-1, Troll)

jopsen (885607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27148857)

But the phrase "copy-protected" says otherwise...

Re:And I thought Google wasn't evil... (1, Funny)

Hannes2000 (1113397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27149003)

> And I thought Google wasn't evil...

you made my day...

Re:And I thought Google wasn't evil... (4, Insightful)

colonslash (544210) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150167)

I don't think this is evil.

In this case, Google isn't using copy protection out of greed, or to try to control users' behavior - this copy protection is an option for developers.

Just because they're selling guns doesn't mean people have to shoot themselves in the foot.

Re:And I thought Google wasn't evil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27154881)

Someone needs to tell Microsoft this...

Re:And I thought Google wasn't evil... (1)

ais523 (1172701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27157613)

Google are selling footguns here, rather than using them. Whether other people choose to buy them is entirely up to them.

Re:And I thought Google wasn't evil... (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27159027)

Somewhat offtopic:

Just because they're selling guns doesn't mean people have to shoot themselves in the foot.

I'm a European, and I honestly believe that American gun laws is just another way to express stupidity.
Do I need, say more?

Will I be able to compete against Android... if popular apps for android are locked to Googles platform?
If so, then what's the point of the DRM?

I don't think this is evil.

Content protection = DRM = Evil
Am I wrong...?


Note: I don't like bashing Google, but we need watch out, they may be just as capable of creating a monopoly as Microsoft...

Re:And I thought Google wasn't evil... (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27159041)

Somewhat offtopic:

Just because they're selling guns doesn't mean people have to shoot themselves in the foot.

I'm a European, and I honestly believe that American gun laws is just another way to express stupidity.

Oh, and yes... Don't give me a gun because I WILL shoot myself in the foot!!!
- If not for fun than, at the very least to prove my point :)

application for running applications (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27148985)

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:application for running applications (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27149183)

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

Re:application for running applications (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27149215)

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:application for running applications (2, Interesting)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27149827)

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.

Re:application for running applications (1)

rwiggers (1206310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150043)

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.

Re:application for running applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27150197)

well the idea exists already obviously, but i think the gp meant that a real actual implementation might free us poor developers from the craze of apple app stores, and google app locking...

Re:application for running applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27156141)

In that case, what you describe is not really necessary -- any developer who wanted to develop for your "platform-in-a-platform" can already develop for Android and just not set the copy-protection flag on their apps. The apps are only copy-protected if the developer chooses to make it so.

Why isn't "Android" in the article title anywhere? (3, Insightful)

booyabazooka (833351) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why isn't "Android" in the article title anywhe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27149923)

Google doesn't sell that many applications. A pertinent notice, though.

Re:Why isn't "Android" in the article title anywhe (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27160161)

The same as "podcast". They want to own all popular terms to drive their market. Only "Steve" freaks follow the herd.

"Paid Apps" (3, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150383)

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. :(

Re:"Paid Apps" (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#27151217)

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 could be fun on a developer phone since a user can always copy the app off, return it, then copy it back onto the phone. Also, copy protected apps aren't really protected on the dev phone either, since you can always su and do it as root. Even if Google closed that hole, there's always the ability to run your own code on the phone with that hole in it.

Re:"Paid Apps" (3, Informative)

docwhat (3582) | more than 5 years ago | (#27153895)

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.

Ciao!

Bullshit spin, keeps many producers out of market (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27150747)

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 protected or unprotected app are about the same.

Now lets look at the negatives. Lots of companies writing apps like games or stuff with custom video/audio content they spent a lot of money developing, will simply not develop for the phone if there's no protection. Not being able to download your own app makes it harder to test.

Sure we'd like all apps to be DRM free and unprotected, but the reality is this will keep a lot of bigger app developers off that platform. If you want OS platfoms to succeed, then you have to grow the platform substantially and until Google rectifies this the app store will see little serious growth. Myself I am inclined to a practical perspective that it's better to have some protected apps than a floundering platform (it's not floundering yet by any means but a drag on growth like this will matter in a year).

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.

Re:Bullshit spin, keeps many producers out of mark (1)

pthreadunixman (1370403) | more than 5 years ago | (#27155857)

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:Bullshit spin, keeps many producers out of mark (2, Informative)

SilentTristero (99253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27156577)

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.

Yes there is (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27162937)

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 term and so you would do nothing - baby steps for these people man, baby steps. The fact that people like you just say there's no real solution scares them off all the more, and could eventually really marginalize something that would otherwise be a great platform.

You don't seem to realize I want Android to succeed here.

As of now, I give 2nd place marketshare to the Pre in two years.

Re:Yes there is (1)

SilentTristero (99253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27164647)

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

Re:Yes there is (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167803)

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).

Re:Yes there is (1)

SilentTristero (99253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27168415)

  • 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.

Android Platform Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27151707)

Google does not have a shortage of Market problems. Take a look at some of the basic issues both developers and users are fighting.

The Android Market Help Forum [google.com] seems to have lots of people needing help but few real answers or solutions. Google has a black-eye right now and they desperately need to do something. It seems the Android Market is suffering from very fundamental problems - so much so, Google should be embarrassed.

Re:Android Platform Problems (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27151853)

Every google forum I've seen involves a lot of unanswered questions.

Re:Android Platform Problems (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27161533)

Every Google forum is like this and it's because Google doesn't do support at all.

It relies on volunteers to answer questions. Take Youtube and Vimeo as a comparison. Vimeo has *gasp* an email address. Good luck trying to email Google on anything..

mod 30wn (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27154403)

problems that I've population as well Learn what mistakes 'superior' machine. websit3 Third, you is ingesting base for FrreBSD enjoy the loud

Still a disappointment (1)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27159835)

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. And now the "fix" is released, but it only goes half way. A lot of developers are still going to enable the stupid copy protection flag whether they need to or not and whether it really provides any useful protection. In the end, as a hobbyist developer, this hurts me since the single phone I can afford is less useful.

this still doesn't help a lot of people (1)

Blymie (231220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27159897)

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?

Re:this still doesn't help a lot of people (1)

Blymie (231220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27160191)

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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