Should Google remove the option to sideload Android apps?
0. phoneArena 26 Jul 2012, 04:38 posted on
The problem with Android app piracy seems to be escalating lately, with more and more developers expressing their negative opinion towards the platform's little to no protection against it...
This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here
30. McLaren (unregistered)
Google now has to add a problem for itself.
Apple: No patent to convert Android into a blocked source.
Deal ; Forced acquisition of Google search or face judge Jo.
@iphonearena,we free people chose Android because we don't like us being commanded by a fruit device(No offence).
33. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 253; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
As I already said in an another topic, iOS jb is just matter of making some clicks while plugged on the pc - it's neither required to put the iphone in dfu. Done that, it's much easier to download apps from installous than searching for apks on google that are always placed in annoying sites with ads and waitings.
Those that know how to get free apks would have no difficulties to jb the iphone, but probably people with tech skills above average prefer anyway android.
A possible solution would be making sideloading possible only if the device is rooted, that is quite "harder to do" compared to jailbreak. This way developer would have the fake feeling of safety, like on iOS.
37. wickets (Posts: 12; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
What about those of us that like using Amazon app store? And why cant developers issue a key with their app....no key no app; And one other point; people that steal $5 apps are mental midgets
39. wickets (Posts: 12; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
P.S. people that know of others using stolen apps should out them at some centalized site EG... douchebagstoleaonedollarapp.com LOL when you go for a job interview and they google your name imagine the horror haha
40. dragonscourgex (Posts: 307; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)
It sounds like someone stole Ray.S cookie and he's mad.
45. taz89 (Posts: 1766; Member since: 03 May 2011)
Lol jail breaking is not easy and non geeks dont do it... Seriously every single person I know who are not even close to being a geek are jail broken. Jailbreak is. Simple 1 click method that even non geeks can do it and have seen them for it... I think you tech people treat the average consumers as being stupid as if they can't following an instruction. Anyone that can read can root or jailbreak especially when it's as simple as 1 click which most hacks are today. Please don't treat the average consumers as dumb as if they need there hands held always saying things like the average consumers won't be able tell the difference between an iPad or a gtab or Android is too complicated for the average person or rooting and jailbreak is too hard for the average Joe.. I think it's time to stop treating us non geeks as stupid... I don't have no special knowledge or eduction in the tech field all I do is follow instructions. It's the same as following instructions to put together a wardrobe. As long u follow instructions then you should be fine. Also If the average Joe is really that dumb like the tech world thinks then they usually have e a friend who will do it for them. On mad finger they never actually stated numbers of piracy. Why not give us the numbers huh. In the play store the downloads were in the 100, 000 to 500,000 range before it was free and the game has not been out that long.. I would seriously like to know how many people actually pirated and in which countries because the reason many people pirate is because countries can't get paid apps so have to pirate.
61. networkdood (Posts: 4748; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Actually, the average user is ...welllll, you know, especially the ones that keep calling iphone 4 and 4S, the iphone 4G.
66. taz89 (Posts: 1766; Member since: 03 May 2011)
Well maybe the UK average Joe is smarter lol..
47. sinple (Posts: 71; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)
Connect iphone to computer, click jail break.
How hard is this?
48. Aeires (unregistered)
As many problems as it creates, I have to say no because it offers too much. Instead, app developers need to change the way they do business, like forcing verification processes for paid high end apps.
Besides that, the average people who pirate/side load apps are the people who know about rooting. Custom roms will always have the ability to side load, so unless you make the entire ecosystem a walled garden, it's not going to work.
51. ibap (Posts: 650; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)
I rarely sideload, but - I've got at least one older app that works fine on my phone, but is no longer available in the market. It relates to NPR stations and there was a free version and a paid version (which I bought), but is simply not there any more. Should I have to lose this because I can't 'sideload' it from my backed up apk? Or maybe it is there with a new name and I just can't find it? Searching the market is often a crapshoot.
I also often clean up and remove apps from my phone, after backing them up. Should I have to rely on the market to be able to re-install them, especially if they are older versions that run on my phone and the newer versions may not?
If they're going to do anything to restrict sideloading, they've got to commit to preserving everything so it will be there when you need it. And/or there needs to be a way to tag a backed-up apk so you can re-install it.
52. KazEmpire (Posts: 39; Member since: 07 Nov 2011)
Well i live in IRAN and google doesnt even allow me to download FREEEE apps from play store. if i cant install sideloaded apps then how im suppose to install one single app?
92. networkdood (Posts: 4748; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
move out of Iran and you will see a whole new world, my friend. I know from experience as I have several friends that I have met over the years that moved out of Afghanistan and Iran.....one owned a bike business prior to the Russians taken over things, many moons ago.
53. script_writer (Posts: 56; Member since: 27 Jun 2012)
i can totally see where their coming from but if they were to remove the option, there plenty of other up and coming OS to jump onto. Amazon, firefox, and facebook are all still developing at the mo but they have their chance to shine (or not) when they all launch.
I like my freedom
54. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)
They have already set it up to verify if apps are paid there's no reason to take away the ability to side load apps..
55. AlanB412 (Posts: 17; Member since: 23 Jul 2012)
I think dev-side verification checks would be the better idea. I currently have various apps that were made by some intelligent devs that like getting their money. These apps perform verification checks, and if you're using a pirated version they simply won't run or they'll boot you back to "free" functionality. Blocking unknown sources might work to dispel casual users from piracy, but as with iPhones the casual users are more likely to be the ones paying for their apps anyways. If unknown sources were blocked you can be sure that xda and all the other sites would find a workaround immediately, and anyone who is determined enough to keep side loading pirated apps will be doing it again anyways. If security and piracy is that big of a problem, then GOOD alternatives to this should be found. A simple fix like blocking unknown sources isn't so much of a protection as it is a false barrier. Erizon and AT&T phones have been doing that for years and it has not stopped me from bypassing them so I can install things like Amazon Appstore.
60. networkdood (Posts: 4748; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Well, both companies' Android phones allow you to sideload, load from alternate app store.
121. djcoder (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Aug 2012)
AT&T phones blocked sideloading a while ago I believe.
56. Hammerfest (Posts: 322; Member since: 12 May 2012)
First off, yeah, agree with everyone else, the poll is put forth horribly.
That being said, if you want this, go to Apple and iOS, because there is NO piracy there right? RIGHT?... WRONG
Needless to say, I use the sideload install feature every time I get a new device, or setup a device for someone else, expecially when I dont have their login info! I wont even ask them for it either, and telling them the basics to get when they finally do get/add an account is POINTLESS, so things like Adobe/Flash/Keyboard(alternative) and some basic tools.
I will agree that Android needs some BETTER* tools for developers to help curve the loss, HOWEVER, those who already KNOW how to pirate anything, and are currently causing them "issues" will only adapt and overcome any roadblock and only serve to cripple the platform in the future. THAT BEING SAID, Google has put into place some Developer tools and "DRM" type features into JB 4.1, but like I said, it will NEVER stop piracy for those who are UNWILLING to pay ALREADY.
There are some GREAT arguments for both sides (mainly against, still) of the Developers letter here:http://yro.slashdot.org/story/
Personally, there where some issues I know of/have seen, but more then half the developers issue is... well a DEVELOPER issue, not the fault of the platform...
*I have used a few tools written in 2011 and 2012 for my PC, guess what? instead of using a nice GUI, they use the CMD prompt... DEVELOPER ISSUE, the code is THERE for the GUI, but they either didnt know how, or chose not to, NOT A PLATFORM ISSUE.
58. good2great (Posts: 952; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)
and this folks is why android is better than iOS...
i voted yes, for unselfish reasons.
74. Whateverman (Posts: 3061; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Only one of many reasons why it's better than iOS. BTW, ever heard of installous? What's that saying about people who live in glass houses...
59. networkdood (Posts: 4748; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
I am not concerned about this as we will still find a way around whatever Google does....
64. Jayray78 (Posts: 13; Member since: 01 Jun 2011)
I'd like to take this time to point back to recent survey saying the 93% of game downloaders pay for them.http://www.phonearena.com/news
I also seem to remember that the average Android user only installs 22 apps.
While, yes, its incredibly easy to pirate apps, its definitely not the majority of users. Like, its easy to root your phone, but less than 1% of users do it.
67. Shubham412302 (Posts: 276; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)
this can only be prevented by making android close source (which is impossible) and removing debugging options...........
so android will be totally like wp and ios.......
then only meego is a better option(hope jolla will be showing their mobiles soon)
even side loaded apps are available for wp7 by flashing roms
68. AndroidShiz (Posts: 144; Member since: 08 Nov 2011)
I have apps that I paid for that often say they don't work with my device, at least the market says they don't. I usually back up my favorite apps especially if they don't have a history of being updated. Often when I sideload, they work perfectly fine. Often the dev has no real plans to make it compatible, so I sideload to continue using the app. Gameloft and others like them, simply do a license check beforehand, that's all devs have to do. Not sure why they all don't. I'd only be for the blocking sideload if the devs actually updated the apps to work with ea iteration of Android before hand, not six months later or sometimes longer. Not all devs do this, but games like Plants Vs Zombies on Google Play never gets updated timely and still doesn't work on Galaxy Nexus. Blocking would also stop Amazons suck market to stop spreading so fast too.
69. Jyakotu (Posts: 812; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)
Android is pretty much the PC of smartphones: you can do whatever you want with it basically. Not surprising that piracy of apps is higher on Android.
70. flipjzn (Posts: 58; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)
Some people are just plain cheap to pay for $0.99 app );
71. ncv144 (Posts: 126; Member since: 04 May 2012)
I actually have a reason for sideloading paid apps, the play store, for some reason does not want to accept any of my credit cards so when i need an app, i cant pay for it and i sideload it.
72. djripster (Posts: 102; Member since: 10 Dec 2011)
Its clear that the success of any platform relies on its developer support.... If Android looses its developers, there won't be an Android. Just as it was for Symbian.
The tech say community will always find away... so blocking the average user from side loading apps isn't such a bad idea...
I am surprised that the tech loving community on PhoneArena is so against this :-(
However it is important to remember as Android spreads into emerging markets, that a 99 cent app is not cheap everywhere around the world...
73. Zero0 (Posts: 533; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)
No. They can add some form of piracy protection that isn't blocking sideloads. As some commenters already said, some developers already have this capability. If the devs cared that much about piracy, they would implement piracy checks.
Saying that blocking sideloaded apps is a good idea to prevent app piracy is like saying that iTunes and Google Play Music should only let users listen to music purchased from them. Because, you know, people could listen to music from torrents.
Sideloaded apps have their purpose. Alternative app stores (such as Amazon's) are important to Android, which markets itself as a free and open OS. Without them, Android isn't the same. You can put in place some piracy prevention without closing Android down.
76. Robert235 (Posts: 48; Member since: 30 May 2010)
There some paid that have a DRM when sideload,I wonder why most app dont have that type of secuity.
77. Shubham412302 (Posts: 276; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)
they should add carrier payment like ovi store
78. ilia1986 (unregistered)
/300/ This. Is. Android!!!!! /kicks Apple to a pit
83. downphoenix (Posts: 1987; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
Maybe google should work with developers for DRM solutions rather than remove the option. Removing the option can be harmful to developers too, particularly smalltime ones, that rely on that option to test their apps before publishing it to Google Play. Also, this will exclude some of the app options like Amazon Appstore and Getjar Gold. If Google allows a good debugging solution for smalltime developers and also allows competing appstores like Amazon Appstore to be made available on Google Play, then I'd be okay with it. Google will need to make concessions with its users if it wants to take away featurse that gave us an open device.
85. The_Innovation (Posts: 508; Member since: 18 Jul 2012)
Most Android users aren't "regular" iPhone users. All the hackers and tweakers are the Android users. This won't stop them.
86. Paximos (Posts: 23; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
Just because of a few bad bad bad person (You are a very bad man), put the rest of the gang in jail...
87. Fuego84 (Posts: 213; Member since: 13 May 2012)
This piracy thing on android has to stop or else android won't have any developers wanting to put out any premium apps and this is also one of the reasons most of all apps are first on iPhone then later on android.
88. CypherCross (Posts: 9; Member since: 25 Jul 2012)
MadFinger has been "forced" to offer their hit games for free. while square-enix's final Fantasy 3 has been selling quite well at a $15 price point. I think if you make good apps and good games, people will buy it!. For Final Fantasy 3, you can download a pirated copy online, but try to install it, It won't work! as it requires an online license check with your account. And the only way to work around this is to root your devices and find a working patch to bypass the online license check. I think the option to install apps from your SDcard is a good feature. And developers just needs to be more smarter with their app.
89. Forsaken77 (Posts: 541; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)
This is the dumbest idea ever... to close off the Play store. There are OTHER MARKETPLACES besides Google Play, Ray. I currently use Amazon, for the free app of the day, Getjar, and 1Mobile. Alot of times the Play store will say that a certain app is not compatible with my device just because the developer didn't unlock it for that device. So using other marketplaces is huge.
90. Forsaken77 (Posts: 541; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)
AT&T used to not allow downloading from anywhere but Googles' store and it was hell!!! I've never pirated an app, mind you. So no, closing down access would be a dumb idea, but I wouldn't expect an iPhone user to know what it's like to use multiple marketplaces either.
91. joey_sfb (Posts: 1477; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
Google is creating another software market the does non-intrusive software licensing check. I notice a lot of newer android apps has them.
To risk virus/malware for a dollar apps is just plain cheap.
93. networkdood (Posts: 4748; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
I admit that I do get paid apps free, just to try them out for a few days - ended up buying the ones I liked.
Honestly, just encrypt all apps and when the phone encounters a non-encrypted app, the user will stop the installation. It can be done, real easy, if Google wanted.
94. Endruu (Posts: 13; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
I think for Developers, there should be an option that allows them to sideload and test apps so long as their using their developer google acc.
For the rest of us, I'm perfectly fine without side loading apps. If I want to test something, I've got a 15 min window, it doesn't seem like much but I think it's good enough for me to make a purchasing decision.
Maybe the poll is flawed? Would be nicer if it had two options for no.
1. No, I like my freedom but I do not support piracy.
2. No, I like to side load pirated apps and I'm not ashamed to say it.
The current choice, and results, seems to shed some bad light with the impression that Android users are all about piracy...forgive me if I'm wrong and that is indeed true, but I'd like to think otherwise.
95. Edmund (Posts: 599; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
android is the only platform that allows side-loading of hacked apps out of the box. Even Symbian gives a certificate error if you don't know what you're doing.
People that vehemently defend this loophole are generally penilless secondary and tertiary students falling between the ages of 14-22. In other words, users that have never had to pay for anything in their lives because mommy and daddy support them.
Bring it on I say.
119. w4fflesrgood (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)
Not to mention that without pirating would not even have any apps so temporary pirating until one has funds to spend would seem like an acceptable situation for me. (Such as being a poor college student :'( )
96. stbutt (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
Just a couple of significant points for the developers who probably will take interest in this poll. Firstly i would like to point out why Dead Trigger was made free eventually. Reason being that it was a paid app with in app purchases. This made initial buyers furious thus they gave bad comments leading to bad sales and piracy. I think they should have just removed the in app purchases to resolve the issue. Secondly i think developers need to learn from developers like Rockstar and Madfinger and make their games adjustable with settings for Graphics detail and frames per second for all the range of devices. This will help the fragmentation issues android has give users the best performance according to their device. Thirdly I think developers need to be unbuyest towards Apple and release games at the same time with similar pricing. Last but not least i think Google need to address the fragmentation issues by stopping companies like Nvidia segregating the market with specialized versions for their chipset. This i think is why piracy went to bigger levels on Android. Because gamers weren't able to access the latest games despite having the latest and greatest devices easily capable of those games. We are spoiled by what we can do with our smartphones today. I think both the developers and the users need to appreciate what we achieve through smartphones. The developers have more than enough ground to make an excellent living if they act with a bit more common sense. And the users have excellent choices for entertainment at a small price. By the way just conclude by declaring that i voted NO.
97. zhypher_23 (Posts: 194; Member since: 04 Jun 2012)
You guys choose, it's either Android maintains lacking+not the best apps w/ Freedom or Locked Ecosystem w/ many wonderful apps, cause devs are not gonna make many apps for android if their just gonna be collected by the "sideloaders"
98. mariosraptor (Posts: 79; Member since: 15 Mar 2012)
nah. freedom for me. if the devs want they can make license validation more secure.
NO ONE should get off of me the ability to sideload app as fro example from XDA.
Google is not Apple= tyrant.
99. Darkerm (Posts: 87; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)
I like my Freedom and that is why I chose Android over iOS.
I gave my iphone 3GS to my Sister and brought Xperia NEO.
Android is freedom. iOS is like a jail for the user.
I love Android how it is now.
102. zynix (Posts: 2; Member since: 14 Jun 2010)
If Play Store could charge money from the SIM card there would be less piracy.
And oh, prohibiting homebrew apps and sideloading them seems like a goodbye from me to Android.
105. OSFantasma (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
there are far better solutions, but your thinking seems to be on the right track...
118. w4fflesrgood (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)
Your assuming ALL android devices use sim cards, or even mobile networks for that matter. (they dont)
122. zynix (Posts: 2; Member since: 14 Jun 2010)
Nay, I know that there are Android devices that don't use or have SIM cards at all.
I said it because I, personally, would buy some stuff on the Play Store, but I'm not able to do so because the only payment method is CC. Therefore I'm forced to download the free version of an app.
103. OSFantasma (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
Simple solution would be to continue on improving the Encryption system on paid apps while at the same time allowing side-loading from developers like opera, Netflix and a few other that allow you to download the APK from there sites. I for one have always downloaded the apps from the PlayStore all my paid apps over fifty i guess i must have spend around $200. Also the Dev's can implement their own DRM as in the few apps AutoDesk's Sketch Book Mobile. i know the overhead expenses can increase a bit but i feel as though this will separate the garbage Dev's from the Pros.
112. alannyny (Posts: 13; Member since: 27 Jun 2012)
Side-loading allows you to install previous versions of apps that might work better on your particular setup.
Unlike with iOS, there are scores (hundreds?) of Android phone models in current use, a bunch of different Android OSs that don't necessarily get upgraded (not to mention custom ROMs), and a plethora of apps that work in conjunction with other apps.
Who would want to get stuck only with the latest but not greatest version of an official app if it mucks things up for you?
Isn't this sort of flexibility really what Android is supposed to be about ... not just during early development, but permanently?