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Old 07-26-2012, 12:32 AM   #1
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Default The Android Dilemma - An Open Platform Open to Piracy?

Unlike its leading competitor, iOS, Android is about as open as a traditional desktop OS. As such, piracy is no stranger here, and some developers speculate that the situation is made worse by the fact that it is in fact "open". We analyze that and other thoughts, and try to evaluate whether or not closing Android would solve anything.

Read through our look at the piracy issue on Android and then discuss it here.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:09 AM   #2
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With all the free-ware on Android, why on earth would you pirate something? I just don't get it. If I want something (aside from a specific title) I can find a free version of it on Play. From guitar tuners to GPS driven speedometers to music players, to pretty much any game genre. All free, all ad supported. The ads don't bother me.
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:17 PM   #3
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The thing about that is, most of the paid apps are better than their free competitors. There are of course exceptions, but in my experience, it's rare. Sometimes, the free versions are sufficient for most people, but again, there are times when the "Pro" versions add something that people want.

In a perfect example of irony, I was talking to a friend earlier about a certain type of app, and I remembered that I purchased a copy of one of the best in its category a while back. He asked me if it supported a certain feature, so I decided to install it to the tablet to find out. No cigar... through the Play Store, my tablet was a blacked-out option. So, I went to Google, searched for an APK, and lo and behold, it works perfectly.

Google Play really needs an "Install anyway" option, just with a word of warning, especially if it's a purchased app. It's not as though you're ever going to install an app that'll brick your device. It might lock it up in the worst case, but even that should be rare.
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:46 PM   #4
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Android needs to continue to support unknown sources. There are plenty of tablets on the market now that do not support either Google Play or Amazon App Store and there are some applications that aren't available on either store. I think a user should have the right to install what software they deem fit to on their devices.

Piracy is a scourge to content creators and distributors that isn't going to easily solved. I have a feeling that piracy rates are same or higher on iOS on jailbroken devices.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:21 PM   #5
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Thanks for commenting, Ben!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenSisko View Post
Android needs to continue to support unknown sources. There are plenty of tablets on the market now that do not support either Google Play or Amazon App Store and there are some applications that aren't available on either store. I think a user should have the right to install what software they deem fit to on their devices.
If the tablet itself doesn't support Google Play, I'm not sure that's Google's fault per se. It might be the device manufacturer that has decided to go with their own solution or just want to avoid Google for some odd reason (a total disservice to the customer). That said, I haven't encountered a tablet that hasn't supported Play; are we talking knock-offs or something like that?

If a tablet doesn't support Play, then I agree Google should allow you to install and use it. That kind of ties into what I mentioned above where Play should let you install to a device even if it's not whitelisted by the developer. Since using my tablet more and more, I'm finding a lot of apps that I've purchased long ago that won't install to the tablet, just because the developer hasn't decided to whitelist it. It's frustrating, especially when it's an app that's still being updated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenSisko View Post
Piracy is a scourge to content creators and distributors that isn't going to easily solved. I have a feeling that piracy rates are same or higher on iOS on jailbroken devices.
I tend to agree that I think the numbers are higher on iOS, due in part to the fact that iPhones have been popular longer than Android devices have been. Generally speaking, it can be assumed that the larger platform is going to have the biggest piracy problem, because no matter what roadblocks are put in place, people are going to get around them.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:42 PM   #6
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The Kindle Fire for instance only has access to the Amazon App Store which kind of cuts you off from 75% of the android apps. Some lesser known tablets don't have either store. It is possible that Amazon might have some apps not on the Play store and vice versa.

Then there are situations where a user might want a opensource application but because of some licensing issue they can't distribute it in the appstore. That is where having the apk files would come in handy.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:59 PM   #7
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Oh, I understand.

That's more Amazon's fault than Google's though, because it wants to lock you down to help subsidize the cheap cost of the tablet. I am sure Google's not thrilled about not being on that device.

I am not that familiar with the Fire, but I assume it modifies most of the settings available to the larger tablets, such as being able to install from unknown sources. I'm also sure there are other roms out there you can flash the entire device with, but that's never ideal.

You're really in a tough spot with a tablet like that, it's one of the trade-offs for it being more affordable, I guess. Probably the worst trade-off there could be though.
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:46 PM   #8
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The blame game, this developer knows how to play it.

Honestly, I do not get it. They said the same thing about Windows because games could be easily cracked. I think it's best said like this "If there is a will, there is a way." so if some one wants to crack or hack something, they will find a way, eg the PS3, Xbox360, Apple devices and etc.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:29 PM   #9
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As far as Android being open, well it's not nearly anywhere as open as Google will have you believe:

http://arstechnica.com/information-t...ile-platforms/

After ignoring Apple's IP, Google's goal was basically make it dominate the market by giving it away free, then after a certain period, five-years, making it no more open than iOS.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/19/30...ina-regulation

Google thought they could get away by approbriating others IP, and not only Apple's, but now that they are having a hard time legally they want the government to force Apple to share its IP by making then into SEP IP, meaning Apple has to license its IP on cheap FRAND terms, which is hypocritically considering how it's using its FRAND IP to sue others totally against the very principles of FRAND.

http://allthingsd.com/20120720/googl...to-essentials/
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan View Post
As far as Android being open, well it's not nearly anywhere as open as Google will have you believe:
If you actually read more than just the article title, you would have seen I was not talking about "open" from that angle, but rather "open" as in "freedom", and what you can do with the OS. As examples:

Apple iOS
Cannot install any app that you please (without rooting).
Cannot set default applications (without rooting).
Limited customization of the OS GUI (without rooting).

Microsoft Windows
Can install any app that you please.
Can set default applications.
Full customization of the OS GUI.

Google Android
Can install any app that you please.
Can set default applications.
Full customization of the OS GUI.

To quote myself from the article:

As mentioned above, it just happens to be a bit easier on Android as the result of its consumer-beneficial openness (not that Android is "open" as in open-source, but that's another topic).

But thanks for posting irrelevant information as usual.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayden View Post
The blame game, this developer knows how to play it.
I do agree with that to a point. We've seen the same thing from a bunch of developers on the PC side of things, but all of those developers are still mega-successful...
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:25 PM   #12
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"But thanks for posting irrelevant information as usual."

My point wasn't your point, about customization but the fact that everything your talking about is mute because, like iOS, Google in a few years time Google plans to bring Android totally in-house, just like iOS, and it won't be licensing it to anyone other than itself, restricting Android to Motorola handsets only, so they can build their own wall-garden, just like iOS.. You'll than lose all that you talked about because Google wants the quality and freedom from fragmentation, and all of the insecurity problems, so that Android, like iOS, can concentrate on quality, but apparently, like you told me when I showed you a video on what Apple was planning to do with multitouch and you simply replied, "... looks interesting, but I can't see any practical use for it.". In other words, you have little vision and can't see the forest for the trees, as usual. I love how you always love to bash Apple every time you want to make a point, showing casing your anti-Apple bias.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
My point wasn't your point
That's the problem. You brought up a bunch of anti-Google points that had nothing to do with the discussion at hand - some would call that trolling. It's not like this thread was about Android in general, it was about a specific topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
I love how you always love to bash Apple every time you want to make a point, showing casing your anti-Apple bias.
Just... wow Truth hurts, I guess?

I brought up the comparisons because you brought up points that had nothing at all to do with the discussion at hand. You are talking about Google's openness in the sense of licensing and et cetera, while the entire two-page article discussed something else. I used the example above to detail exactly the kind of "open" I was talking about, which directly has to do with piracy (aka: the topic of this article).

Even if Google were to lock down Android a-la iOS, it doesn't mean that the openness and freedom the OS offers would disappear. The ability to install APKs has nothing at all to do with the fact that Android is open "for now". That feature could not exist and not change a thing with the courts. Google just happens to want the ability there, at least for now. It's existed for as long as Android itself has - long before Google pondered a Motorola acquisition.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan View Post
As far as Android being open, well it's not nearly anywhere as open as Google will have you believe:

http://arstechnica.com/information-t...ile-platforms/

After ignoring Apple's IP, Google's goal was basically make it dominate the market by giving it away free, then after a certain period, five-years, making it no more open than iOS.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/19/30...ina-regulation

Google thought they could get away by approbriating others IP, and not only Apple's, but now that they are having a hard time legally they want the government to force Apple to share its IP by making then into SEP IP, meaning Apple has to license its IP on cheap FRAND terms, which is hypocritically considering how it's using its FRAND IP to sue others totally against the very principles of FRAND.

http://allthingsd.com/20120720/googl...to-essentials/
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan View Post
"But thanks for posting irrelevant information as usual."

My point wasn't your point, about customization but the fact that everything your talking about is mute because, like iOS, Google in a few years time Google plans to bring Android totally in-house, just like iOS, and it won't be licensing it to anyone other than itself, restricting Android to Motorola handsets only, so they can build their own wall-garden, just like iOS.. You'll than lose all that you talked about because Google wants the quality and freedom from fragmentation, and all of the insecurity problems, so that Android, like iOS, can concentrate on quality, but apparently, like you told me when I showed you a video on what Apple was planning to do with multitouch and you simply replied, "... looks interesting, but I can't see any practical use for it.". In other words, you have little vision and can't see the forest for the trees, as usual. I love how you always love to bash Apple every time you want to make a point, showing casing your anti-Apple bias.
Can you send me the pattern for your tinfoil hat? From the second article you linked in your first quoted post:
Quote:
Of course, Android isn't technically the property of Google it was created and developed by the Open Handset Alliance, of which Google is a member. While it's obviously the biggest contributor, Google probably couldn't just close off Android from other manufacturers without a bit of a fight. It's also worth noting that Chinese carriers and manufacturers often put forked and heavily customized versions of Android on their devices this deal keeps Google building and developing the basis for their customizations.
Everyone said that Mozilla was FUBAR when Chrome came out. Google was their number one supporter in exchange for default search provider placement and after Google developing Chrome, they had no further need of Firefox. Furthest thing from the truth. When the time came to renew their funding with Mozilla, they did.

Google won't lock down Android to Motorola. They can't afford to. There are too many people using other brands out of the same misguided fanboy sentiments that keep the faithful, well, faithful. Google locks out HTC or Samsung or Huawei and where are they going to go? Straight to M$. That's pretty much cutting off their nose to spite the face. Going from dozens of devices across multiple carriers to a handful of devices on a few carriers is about the stupidest move they could make. Motorola doesn't have the cachet Apple does. They definitely don't have the userbase Apple does. It's a lose-lose for Google if they try pulling an Apple.

Sorry, I'm just not buying it.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Going from dozens of devices across multiple carriers to a handful of devices on a few carriers is about the stupidest move they could make. Motorola doesn't have the cachet Apple does. They definitely don't have the userbase Apple does. It's a lose-lose for Google if they try pulling an Apple.
Good points; I don't quite see that happening either. It's easy for Apple to keep iOS closed given its established fanbase and the fact that its the one responsible for selling all of the iOS-equipped phones in existence. Google is not likely to piss off all of the vendors that have supported Android and helped make it successful up to this point. I could be wrong, but I also don't think Google wants to be like Apple and have all of the handsets sit on its shoulders. I think it'd rather focus on the OS itself, and just have Motorola on the side acting as the company that produces Google's own vision of what an Android device should be, but not be responsible for all of it.
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