Should Google remove the option to sideload Android apps: Poll results
Not surprisingly, a vast majority (1146 votes) answered by saying that they would like Google to keep the option, because it kind of represents what Android is all about - freedom, choice and openness. Still there was a good number of people (494 votes) arguing that removing the option will indeed benefit the Android universe as it will help get rid of app piracy.
We understand why the community is mostly against such kind of measure against piracy. As we said, the option to sideload apps gives great freedom to Android users, allowing them to install and do whatever they want on their devices. And it's exactly this kind of openness of the system that has helped Google build the Android ecosystem as we know it today.
However, there surely are some troubling symptoms within the community. While some users seem to be firmly convinced that the option shouldn't be touched, but do recognize the fact that something has to be done in order to make pirating apps (or the installation of such) much more difficult than it is now, others simply don't seem to care about this issue at all. Many users believe that there's absolutely nothing wrong with the platform and its app ecosystem as they exist now. The way things stand currently is the following: there's a great operating system — Android — which is getting even better with every new release. It's found on lots of handsets, available at most various prices - from very cheap to ultra-expensive. There's a vast application catalog available for Android, with pirated copies of pretty much all apps being available for download on various websites. Developers who offer their applications for free don't have much problem with this, but those who are actually looking to make a living by selling their apps find it incredibly hard, because a very small part of Android users actually buys them. Most are getting the pirated copies from the web.
No developer is invulnerable to piracy, however, bigger studios are better positioned to fight it, as they have significantly more funds. Thus, they can afford taking different measures to try and limit the piracy of their apps. To a certain extent, they often succeed in this. However, small developers who are just starting cannot afford to fight piracy in any way, and so this kind of situation is most difficult/dangerous for them.
What's the trouble in all this? As we said, the fact that some users don't seem to care one bit about this is what's most troubling. Those consumers what choice, they want freedom, but somehow they do not seem to understand that everything has a price, nothing comes for free, and this includes software products. Google did well in enhancing Android. The platform is now incredibly functional and has a nice and clean UI. However, the Google Play Store continues to be full of amateurish-looking apps that are often buggy. Most apps are now visibly behind the OS itself in terms of overall quality, and this situation isn't going to change, until Google decides to make life a bit easier for developers. It's not worth investing in the production of a quality app, if no one is going to buy it. And who's going to buy it, if one can just download the apk from a random file-sharing site and install it without a problem?