back to article Android app DRM quietly disabled due to bug

Google has temporarily deactivated a security feature designed to make it harder to make illicit copies of apps for the latest version of its Android mobile OS, owing to a bug that rendered the secured versions of some apps inoperable. The feature, which was introduced with Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean," encrypts all paid apps …

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  1. M Gale
    Mushroom

    No more paid apps for me

    Not until someone cracks that DRM wide open so I never have to deal with "sorry, you're a pirate and you can fuck off" messages ever again.

    I just want what I paid for, and I don't want it disappearing because some cock-ends think it's okay to tie my device into some remote DRM checking server that can and has gone wrong. Once is too many times. The amount of times MX Player Pro, Asphalt 6 HD and a number of other paid apps have thrown robotic insults at me is beyond taking the piss.

    If only I just got the lot of them from the 'bay to start with. This wouldn't have been a problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is this the end of open source

      Do I now detect hints of a closed operating system begining to develop.

      DRM on Android!

      Unacceptable.

      1. My Alter Ego

        Re: Is this the end of open source

        The funny thing is that I develop and sell apps on the Android Marketplace, and I don't bother with the DRM as I'm aware of how much of a pain it can be. I dare say that most of the apps that rely on the DRM do so because the PHB has decreed it.

      2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Is this the end of open source

        Why not just use another App Store, there are loads and you don't have to use Android's Play Market.

      3. Vic

        Re: Is this the end of open source

        No.

        Vic.

    2. LarsG
      Meh

      Walled Garden

      Dammit, if Android are going to DRM everything and get it so badly wrong where does it leave the principle of choice?

      This is an extremely uncomfortable scenario.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Walled Garden

        Google knows all too well that piracy is a problem on Android. Every platform struggles with it and it has almost finished off every platform where it has been rife.

        1. Alan_Peery
          Stop

          Re: Walled Garden

          That piracy problem completely killed off Windows then? Strange, I missed that somehow....

          1. Stuart Castle

            Re: Walled Garden

            Depends. A lot of gaming companies have shifted development to the consoles citing piracy as the reason. Even Crytek have announced they are moving away from games retail as a result of piracy.

            Even on the desktop and laptops, while WIndows has the largest market share still, it's share is lower than it was a few years ago.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Walled Garden

              > A lot of gaming companies have shifted development to the consoles citing piracy as the reason.

              Rubbish; it's money. The console market is bigger, you can charge more and the hardware is consistent so it's cheaper to support. You can then cobble together a half arsed port to sell to PC gamers anyway.

              > Even Crytek have announced they are moving away from games retail as a result of piracy.

              Double rubbish; money again. Crytek are owned by EA who have seen Valve's fantastically successful hat wearing simulator and want some of that action. They think the future is in micro-payment* based free to play games.

              * In Battlefield play4free it costs about £8 to permanently buy a competitive weapon for a character. By default you have 3 characters each of which has a primary and secondary weapon. That's £48 for BF2 with less maps......

              1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                Re: Walled Garden

                plus console gamers buy any old shit whereas PC gamers wont touch most steaming turds. D3 excepted.

                1. toadwarrior
                  FAIL

                  Re: Walled Garden

                  How original, some forever alone professing how much better pc gaming is. Ignroing the fact that the PC largely. Get poor poor console ports so they're getting the rehashes or they're buying decade old games off gog, steam or whatever.

                  Yes you spend far more to graphics that are a bit nicer but your games aren't better in terms of gameplay or if they are it's just old games.

              2. Stuart Castle

                Re: Walled Garden

                Of course it's money. I never argued otherwise. Companies exist to make money. They do this by selling products. Pirates enable people to obtain those products without paying anything, so the company receives nothing. Oh, people may say that they still buy the games/music/films they really like, but I wonder how many actually do.

                However, it's worth pointing out that the potential market for a PC game is still far larger than that for any console. Most families now days have at least one PC. No console can match that market size. But, the fact remains that a lot of companies are abandoning PC development, despite the advantage of the potentially huge market. Cost of support is one factor.

                1. toadwarrior

                  Re: Walled Garden

                  The potential markewt for pc games may be larger but you'll never sell to every PC owner where as when someone owns a console you know their intention is to play games.

        2. Chris007
          FAIL

          Re: Walled Garden @AC 8th August 2012 07:34 GMT

          I call bulls**t on your statement - Windows seems to have gone from strength to strength since Version 1 and it has always been pirated...

        3. A J Stiles
          Linux

          Re: Walled Garden

          Every platform?

          GNU/Linux doesn't seem to suffer much with piracy.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes it is true

      I have posted this comment before...

      But it's so fitting to hell with it, here it is again....

      YET Another opportunity

      For the android fan base to scream kick and shout like children in a nursery.

      Actually that statement is insulting to very young children who do not have much control over their emotional responses.

      At least they have an excuse, the Fandroids have none.

      Ahhh I feel better now.

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    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Most

      Android apps run on 2.3 so this will have little effect for the time being especially considering the length of time updates take to get out to users. In fact it's unlikely that 2.3 users will ever be updated to Jelly Bean so the DRM is neither here of there until its time to renew the handset.

      The perfect work around is to stick with a previous version of the software.

      1. Test Man
        Stop

        Re: Most

        "Android apps run on 2.3 so this will have little effect for the time being especially considering the length of time updates take to get out to users. In fact it's unlikely that 2.3 users will ever be updated to Jelly Bean so the DRM is neither here of there until its time to renew the handset."

        Yes but that won't be the case in two years when handsets get replaced. Google are putting in the foundations so that over time app piracy will be curtailed. It's not intended as a complete quick immediate fix solution.

    5. Wize

      Re: No more paid apps for me

      "I just want what I paid for..."

      Its been said that locks only keep out good people.

      Stick on a DRM lock and someone will crack it and send it everywhere.

      Where as the average user who has paid for it is fighting with restrictions.

      My usual example to throw out there is DVDs.

      Buy a DVD and you can only watch it on your DVD player. You have to sit through the anti-pirate warning and the trailers for other films.

      Download illegally and you can watch it on any device you own. You don't have to sit through any warnings and trailers.

      You pay for it and you suffer. DRM is a bad thing.

  2. M Gale

    Oh...

    ...and after reading that crap the article linked to, Matt Gemmell can fuck off too. You're part of the problem. Closed is better? Choice is a bad word? Please, just go away. You don't deserve my money.

    1. Chet Mannly

      Re: Oh...

      "Matt Gemmell can fuck off too."

      Amen! - his statement: "If you want a platform to be commercially viable for third-party software developers, you have to lock it down." is complete stupidity.

      I remember an operating system called windows that wasn't locked down the way he prescribes, and last time I checked it had a few third party developers making software for it :-P

      Just sayin...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh...

      I will never be able to look an iPhone user in the eye again!

    3. Sean O'Connor 1

      Re: Oh...

      No, Matt Gemmell's absolutely right. You make about 5-10 times as much from the same game on iOS as you do on Android, so us developers are always going to prioritise iOS. It's fine by us if you want to have a hissy fit about DRM etc.. and choose an Android phone because of that but then don't be surprised if the AppStore gets better apps and games than the Android Market.

    4. A J Stiles

      Re: Oh...

      I agree.

      Sometimes I have to wonder whether the people with the biggest sense of entitlement, the ones who write this software and think they're entitled to money just because they did something hard, ever stop and wonder Just a minute -- are we the bad guys?

      1. M Gale

        Re: Just a minute -- are we the bad guys?

        If you want to remote control my machine, to decide when and where the software that I bought can be run and how.. if you wish to have my machine dependant on your servers in order to work properly.. if you think that I have an unwarranted sense of entitlement simply because I want what I paid for to work without interruption.. if you think you have any rights to the product whatsoever after you have sold it..

        Then yes, you are the bad guy, and you can take your unwarranted sense of entitlement to my money and fuck off.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll just hold off releasing my game on Android then until they have robust DRM that works.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or you could make a game that's actually worth paying for. In the end, you cannot win if you think you can make money out of every single copy out there. Appstore games are supposed to be cheap enough that it's not WORTH the trouble to pirate them to your target audience, that is people with actual disposable income. People with too much time and too little money will find a way, just accept it as part of doing business.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The day I allow my business strategy to be determined by your unwarranted sense of entitlement will be the day I go bankrupt.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The day I allow my business strategy to be determined by your unwarranted sense of entitlement will be the day I go bankrupt.

          And that, in one sentence, is the best summary of the issue. For every legit copy sold, there are gazillions of illegal copies obtained by people who see not paying for the efforts of someone else's work as a right, amazing as that might be. There are plenty of arguments sprayed around defending this such as "they would not be customers anyway" and "software wants to be free", but if the software is sold, obtaining it without paying is quite simply theft. Software developers have to eat too.

          However, DRM is a spectacularly bad way of enforcing copyright because it causes overhead in distribution, usability and support. As a chained set of events it becomes a chain where the weakest link will prevent the software from working, and guess who gets the support burden? Yup.. Worse, it wreaks havoc with backup and recovery (anyone remember Trusted Computing?).

          I see the problem, but DRM is not one of the better answers. As far as I'm concerned it's not an answer at all..

          1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

            "if the software is sold, obtaining it without paying is quite simply theft."

            Please stop with this line. It is not theft. You loose nothing by them obtaining/using (unless you count a lost sale, which is not always the case). It is a violation of copyright, but it is NOT theft.

            However, I do see your point. When I produce software and choose to sell it I expect to be paid. In the end, however, I have to accept that some people will pirate it. Most of those, IMHO, would not have bought it anyway, and those who really value it buy it. They are the customers I want, and I have even found piracy has helped them find me (e.g. a friend has been using a pirated version, they've seen it and bought it)

            Piracy is an evil we must put up with, because there are no good solutions to the problem. And if you find you are expriencing low sales, it may be that the sales strategy you are using is not apropriate. Maybe you should try making a free, ad-supported version. Or time limitted demos. Maybe you are charging too much, or the software is not good enough. Maybe your marketting is not up to scratch. Blaming the pirates is not the way to go: They are here to stay, so they need to be factorred in to your business plan.

        3. Da Weezil

          Entitlement is part of device OWNERSHIP

          Being free of a walled garden is WHY I chose Android - otherwise I'd still be on my trusty old 6230i.

          My "sense of Entitlement "as an OWNER of the handset is to be able to install from any source I trust and - where it is a "paid for" app - have it work and deliver the value I have paid for - without having the aggravation of having to jump though hoops each time something in the DRM chain falls over.

          The day people like you get to dictate what I can do with my handset is the day your market shrinks to zero and yes - you go bankrupt.

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Entitlement is part of being a fandroid

            FTFY

            So you get all the choice, and the developer of the app gets none? If your choice is between an app that costs £5 and is protected by the developer against copying by using DRM, and a pirated version from a russian app store that costs nothing, you would choose the pirated version and feel morally justified in your decision?

            And they say Apple has the reality distortion field.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Ian Yates
            WTF?

            Re: Entitlement is part of device OWNERSHIP

            "Being free of a walled garden is WHY I chose Android"

            Ditto, and I don't see how it's relevant to this article. Android already has DRM for paid apps, albeit easy to circumvent.

            DRM != walled garden; you can still choose the Amazon store instead of Google Play.

            1. Chris007
              FAIL

              Re: Entitlement is part of device OWNERSHIP @Ian Yates

              Amazon store - Not in the UK you can't

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As an iOS app developer I don't mind at all that jailbreakers (reportedly ~10% of iPhone users) can pirate my app and it's a little easier than actually buying it--at least when you pirate it, you don't have to enter your iTunes password. Ultimately that means that 90% of the iPhone user population is going to pay for my app if they want it, which is good enough for me.

        However, when you make pirating software so stupid-easy for everybody such that you just have to copy a file without jailbreaking your phone or anything, then I'm under no illusions that people will buy my app in similar numbers.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Pffft

      Like I've ever seen a game that works decently on Android, other than Solitaire. Even the games bundled with my Xoom don't work.

      Please go away, troll.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Pffft

        Eh, the apps work wonderfully, for the most part. It's the DRM that gets in the way. As usual.

      2. Paul 77
        Happy

        Re: Pffft

        Ummm... X-Plane works very nicely on my Galaxy S3 :-)

  4. Roger Stenning
    WTF?

    "Designed for piracy"?

    Well there's a libel suit waiting for filing if ever I heard - I mean read - it.

    1. RAMChYLD
      Boffin

      Re: "Designed for piracy"?

      I thought it was "Designed for homebrew". Given how the chocolate factory practically gives their SDK away for free and allows anyone to install unencrypted apps on their devices. Comparatively, I have to buy a Mac just to develop my app, and then pay US$99 just to test my own app on my own iPad, when coding for the iOS platform. Google's "designed for homebrew" policy makes it easier for me to test my software and deploy it.

  5. Alan_Peery

    *If* I can download to multiple devices, what's the problem?

    So the downloaded app is put into an encrypted partition, and thus I can't sideload the bits from device #1 to device #2. Got that.

    What's the policy on the app store about downloading the app I have purchased *once* directly onto *two* devices? Will the apps I've purchased for my HTC Sensation be available on a Nexus 7 when I get around to buying one?

    If so, this seems fine to me. Why would I want to sideload when I can just download from the app store to the new device?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: *If* I can download to multiple devices, what's the problem?

      http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-20100093-285/how-to-install-paid-apps-on-multiple-android-devices/

      The existing store allows you to do just that - I don't see why it would change.

    2. Ian Yates

      Re: *If* I can download to multiple devices, what's the problem?

      The new DRM is just to encrypt the local app download to the current device. You'll still be able to download to extra devices and future ones.

    3. vic 4
      Unhappy

      Re: *If* I can download to multiple devices, what's the problem?

      Yeah, you can do that. But what about when the developer pulls the software from google play? What about when they upgrade the software and make a mess of it so you end up with somethng that doesn't work or just plain buggy? I've had both of these happen to me.

      Without backups you are up sh*t creak, I find it so hard on here to beleive anyone on here would ever think it's ok not to be able to back anything up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "shit creak"

        better get some WD40 on it then!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only on Android

    can a bug like this be around for nearly 1 month without making headline news or Google taking action.

    Will Google now remove bad reviews from the Play Store for the affected apps?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have no objection to DRM provided that every time I attempt to run a paid for app and it fails due to DRM I then get a partial refund.

    If I pay for an app I expect to be able to use it whenever I want.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Apple route

    I have boycotted Apple products since the day they were released due to the lockdowns and trying to tie you to their own stores etc. so I have had a PC instead of a mac, a generic mp3 player instead of an ipod and an android phone instead of the iphone.

    If android is going to be locked to one apps store, then I will also boycott android.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Apple route

      Where in that article does it mention an Apple-like app store? All this relates to is apps bought from the Play Store, on specific versions on Android. You can still install apps from anywhere you want.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Apple route

      so I have had a PC instead of a mac

      If that PC runs Windows you are at best inconsistent, at worst you need your head examined. I switched only 2 years ago from Windows to OSX, and the only swearing I have done since was for not doing this earlier. I have a contained platform where I can buy software at very reasonable prices (my last OS update was below £20, and the server version is not that much more expensive) as well as cracking freeware (still making up my mind between Open/ApacheOffice and LibreOffice, though), yet underneath the gloss is trusty old BSD, so I can hop to Unix any time I want to - and I have plenty ports of GPL-ed code I work with.

      In other words, it's a walled garden with a gate I can open at will. Works for me. No need to rant, just gets the job done. Easy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OS X server...

        .. is discontinued.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OS X server...

          No it's not discontinued

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: OS X server...

            It's no longer sold as a separate OS product.

            Instead some of the server type tools are sold as an add-on package via the mac app store. Not really a big deal, as the vast majority of the features are available as free software anyway.

            I was in fact slightly mistaken, I was thinking about the XServe (hardware) - that definitely IS discontinued.

            http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2011/01/31/reactions_to_the_demise_of_the_xserve/

      2. Marty

        Re: The Apple route

        "still making up my mind between Open/ApacheOffice and LibreOffice, though....."

        oh please, I have LibreOffice, on my ubuntu desktop, just for the connivance of opening MS office docs without switching to my windows machine.... at best its on par with office 95..... perfectly fine for a home user, but for a business/corp users, lets get real....

        the TCO between linux, windows and osx is not to far apart. but for business users it just makes more sense to go with the most common deployed office suite to keep the cost of training to a minimum... I really cant be doing with support calls to the IT department because someone cant find and use a basic office function....

      3. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: The Apple route @AC 09:25

        You fail to mention that the £14 pound OS update was practically mandatory because Apple has now abandoned Snow Leopard with it being what, less than 3 years old OS already?

        In Windows those kind of upgrades are called Service Packs and they cost nothing.

        You also fail in your 'cracking freeware' example because those Office packages are available on Linux and Windows as well. 'Software at reasonable prices' is equally laughable point because commercial software on OS X doesn't seem to be any cheaper than on the other platforms.

        1. the-it-slayer
          Paris Hilton

          Re: The Apple route @AC 09:25

          a. Mandatory? No. You really don't understand the Mac OS X model. Each release is effectively a new OS based on the previous one. Windows Service Parks don't offer any NEW features unlike new Mac OS X releases. They're just bundled security updates. Know the difference.

          b. Abandoned? Hardly. Hardware wise, you can install Mountain Lion as far back Mac's that appeared in mid 2007. Regarding updates stopping to a certain point, it's quite an known unofficial rule to run N-1 version of Mac OS X to get the best out of it.

          c. Software at reasonable prices? Just go look at the App Store. Most stuff is pretty reasonable unless you want stable production apps that high-end software houses have produced.

          For Microsoft, that's where there plans have failed on them. Because the business enterprise has only just started to migrate from XP to Win 7, that's why they had no choice but to keep supporting it (along with Server 2003). I'm sure M$ would of loved to have dumped XP support after 4 - 5 years.

          1. Sandtitz Silver badge

            Re: The Apple route @the-it-slayer

            You are mistaken. Proof me wrong if you can.

            First of all, Service Packs do bring "any NEW features" besides being just a bundle of security updates and. Support for USB2, IPv6, Bluetooth, WPA have come with XP Service Packs. Know the difference indeed...

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_NT_4.0#Service_Packs

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_XP#Service_packs

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista#Service_packs

            Regarding App Store:

            Apple and Linux distro's in general are miles better with the central repo thing, there's no denying in that. But if you are stating that software for Mac is generally cheaper than the same software for Windows, PLEASE show some proof that shows that to be true.

            Also, if I want stable apps, I should not use App Store? :-)

            Apple has left the door wide open to Safari attacks on OS X 10.6 and older. Safari 5 has multiple open vulnerabilities, and Safari 6 is limited to OS X 10.7 & .8

            Your take on XP support cycle is inane. You are comparing a consumer grade OS with a professional OS.

            Apple doesn't specify their support policies for OS X anywhere. It is just "given" that the latest-1 OS is supported. The older versions, well - Apple couldn't care less.

            You are free to compare this to Microsoft's support cycles. XP gets 12+ years of support (up from original due to the Vista mistake) but you make this sound like something unheard of in computing. Windows 2000 had 10 years of support, Windows 7 support ends in 2020, even Windows 3.1 support lasted 9 years and that was released 2 decades ago. The same 10 year support cycle includes Office products as well.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Apple route @AC 09:25

          "'Software at reasonable prices' is equally laughable point because commercial software on OS X doesn't seem to be any cheaper than on the other platforms."

          As far as I can tell you've been never near an OSX machine. A couple of reasons why it is cheaper:

          - apps you buy can generally be installed on ALL the machines you use - legally, no BS.

          - even apps bought outside App Store come with reasonable terms - most of them support, for instance, the concept of a family license where you buy the right to install for multiple users provided they are in the same home

          - OSX apps share the generic platform focus of usability. I cannot call it perfect, but I keep finding ways to do things in OSX software that makes just so much more sense, and that is pervasive. It means I save a substantial amount of time NOT looking for where the f*ck the supplier stuck feature x, y or z, something that especially MS Office suffers to justify flogging people a new version that is basically the same they already have, just tarted up and wasting even more power.

          I suggest you do what I did - I bought a Mac for research as I'm writing a book and gavce it two months to get over the initial learning curve, the intention wasn't at all to switch as I was happy with Linux and the occasional use of Windows. Yet I ended up throwing out Windows completely as OSX offered me a good GUI with a commercial vendor on a stable platform. It really just *works*.

          On the other hand, please don't buy a Mac, we need a few sheep..

          1. Sandtitz Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: The Apple route @Coward 16:39

            Dear Anonymous Coward,

            I have been near on OSX machine. I have not used the App store to buy anything - yet.

            Apps can be installed in all personal used computers. That is, in home, used by you only. Doesn't include kids or wife. While that itself is better than a single use license, I don't think this is that common scenario.

            Some Apps outside App Store have volume/site/family licenses - just like in Windows. Duh!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Apple route

      Android isn't going to be locked into a single store. Any app you buy, from google, is going to be locked to the device you download it to. This is to prevent you buying an app and then giving a copy to a friend.

      It will not stop you downloading apps from other stores or developing your own.

    4. the-it-slayer
      Happy

      Re: The Apple route

      At the original AC poster @ 08:53 - you are seriously one ill-informed person.

      - Mac's never had an App Store until beginning of 2011 so you had to buy software like you did PC. You can still buy software outside of the App Store and install it willy-nilly.

      - iPod's can store MP3s/AACs/WAVs of your own choice (outside iTunes Store) and from CD for a long-long time. No need to get an Apple ID.

      - And you never needed to purchase any software to use the iPhone as a phone.

      Anyway, I knew this would happen at some point with Android. How on earth can you convince developers to part their time with a platform when they know it's easy-peasy to pirate their apps? Google sold the OS to vendors with a wide birth and then overtime cover the parts of the system that close off a lot of it so your customers don't see what's going on.

      Back to the OP on this thread; looks like you'll be using a Nokia candy phone if you don't like DRM and crap. No smartphone for you!

  9. TeeCee Gold badge
    Mushroom

    "...illegal app copying among Android users."

    Ah, the root cause of DRM. If we could just find a way of eliminating that, there would be no DRM and we could all be happy.

    Trouble is, scrotes will be scrotes and they don't give a rat's arse that they're fucking it up for the rest of us. If you don't want DRM, I suggest that if you ever see someone ripping off a paid app, you kick 'em good 'n hard in the bollocks. If enough of us do that, it might just make a difference.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: "...illegal app copying among Android users."

      not sure why the downvote. All DRMs will be cracked. Even iOS can be jailbroken and loaded with cracked apps. As you say, scrotes will be scrotes. Only the honest get punished (why on earth do paying customers get the lecture on why piracy is bad? Even the kids get annoyed at not being able to fast forward the "dodgy bloke on the market" at the start of their DVDs)

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " with the majority of Android devices are still running version 2.3 of the OS"

    Sigh, this crap again.

    The total Android device count includes millions of devices that will never be upgraded beyond their 18-month Android support window( Android suppliers signed up to 18 months of OS updates).

    It's only natural, as Android becomes ever more widespread, will there be more devices languishing on old versions. HTC Heros for example that will never see anything newer than Froyo, Desires that will will never see anything newer than Gingerbread etc..

    What matters is the number of devices that DO get updated (16% of devices are now on ICS = 50m or so devices). What also matters is pretty much every app on the market doesn't care what version of Android you use, the API is very stable, with most of the good stuff in from Android 2.1 onwards....

    What's even funnier is how idiot are being fooled by Apple tricks, and calling everything iOS6, when clearly it's not iOS6 on anything but the iPhone4s, the older the phone, the more that's culled....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: " with the majority of Android devices are still running version 2.3 of the OS"

      Hold on, why 18 months worth of updates? This is a friggin' open-source OS the last time I checked. There's nothing stopping HTC upgrading their Desires to the latest OS surely? Okay, they may not get support from Google themselves but they should have software teams who can support the transitions + devices as they get older. It's a crap and fragile model that I personally came away from as soon as I realised the G1 was no good past the first upgrade. The intentions to take advantage of the customer was clear.

      People are still using the 3GS three years on from it's original release. And who cares if iOS doesn't give the full features on the 3GS/4? They're honest enough about it unlike anyone supplying Android. To get major security updates and a better working "phone" is a priority for me. Also, it still gives more users the chance to download a bigger variety of apps rather than legacy ones that may continue to fester with horrible bugs.

      "What matters is the number of devices that DO get updated (16% of devices are now on ICS = 50m or so devices). What also matters is pretty much every app on the market doesn't care what version of Android you use, the API is very stable, with most of the good stuff in from Android 2.1 onwards..."

      To have 85% of devices still on the older OS and a majority released after the end of 2010 could be upgraded is poor. Forget the apps, it's about the phone features and security. Typical fandroid priorities are always wrong.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VM?

    Boot under Linux (Debian/Ubuntu) and run Android in a VM - perhaps 2GB RAM and a dual 64bit or 32bit quad would be sufficient. An Android x86-64 (even 32bit) version might be popular for AMD APUs. ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: VM?

      wtf does that have to do with anything?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "t if the software is sold, obtaining it without paying is quite simply theft. "

    No it isn't. It may be a bad idea, and in some jurisdictions it may be illegal, but it almost certainly isn't theft, and your attempt to call it theft devalues the other quite sensible things you had to say.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "t if the software is sold, obtaining it without paying is quite simply theft. "

      It would probably be covered by section 11 of the Fraud Act, 2006:

      "Section 11 makes it an offence for any person, by any dishonest act, to obtain services for which payment is required, with intent to avoid payment"

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/notes/division/5/11

      1. Vic

        Re: "t if the software is sold, obtaining it without paying is quite simply theft. "

        > "Section 11 makes it an offence for any person, by any dishonest act, to obtain services for

        > which payment is required, with intent to avoid payment"

        So copyright infringement would not be covered by that.

        Copyright infringement *is* unlawful. It might even be a criminal offence if performed in a commercial setting (s.107), but it's not fraud, and it's not theft.

        Vic.

  13. Furbian
    Unhappy

    Even Worse than Apple.

    I can't even begin to imagine what happens when your phone dies (I had three Motorola Atrix's and I am not on my second Sony Xperia S).. do Google Play sort this out for you? I don't think so...

    http://furbian.blogspot.in/2012/06/my-google-walletplaycheckoutwhatever.html

    Or do you contact each software developer, giving them your new IMEI number?

    Our whole family shares an Apple Account (for iPads), and the only limitation appears to be the maximum number of PC's we can sync with, i.e. 5. Having Apps locked to your phone alone is obviously more restrictive. Being restricted to an account, and all phones registered to that account, would be bearable.

    1. Alan_Peery

      Re: Even Worse than Apple.

      If your phone dies, not really a problem. See my question above and the responses -- you just download the apps to the replacement device, just like to to the original device. The DRM prevents sideloading copying of binaries, not downloads to multiple deivce.

      Your linked case has very little to do with a phone dying. It does point up a big *potential* problem with relying on an app store, and I am sorry that problem has bitten you.

      It might not have done, had you refrained from grammar pedant mode and insisted that "e-mail" is the proper form for "email", when this is a small matter and debatable:

      http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2011/03/of-e-mail-email-and-other-fine-points-of-style/

      http://mashable.com/2011/03/18/ap-stylebook-email/

      (OED link missing as I don't a subscription.)

  14. HardwareHarry
    Coat

    Sorry, just couldn't resist it...

    "The root of the problem appears to be a defect in Android 4.1's system startup code, which corrupts affected apps whenever the user powers on or reboots the device."

    Hello - IT. Have you tried NOT turning it off and on again?

  15. Blacklight
    Meh

    Only a problem when it fails...

    I was previously aware of the Android licensing system, whereby you bought an app, and it periodically dialled home (to Google) to check if it was allowed to run under your account.

    This however, bit me in the bum last week, when I was on holiday, in Greece. No roaming data enabled, and lo, my nice games which may have been fun to play here and there, locked up and told me the game wasn't licensed/authorised, and to cough up - which was annoying. If it had said "Erm, I need a data connection for 30 seconds and about X kb" I'd have been happier.

    I don't have a problem with the idea of encrypted apks/installations either - as long as it's hassle free - and if that stops the above "argh, I can't validate" stupidity - then fine. Google Play allows me to push any purchased app to either of the two devices I have, automatically - so unless the authors/Google also start introducing "only one active device per app" stupidity, it won't be a prob for me.

    Interested to see how (if at all) Titanium backup will handle things though....

  16. Silverburn

    Awww... Diddums.. Did your DRM break? Lemme get my violin out...

    Personally I pay for ALL my stuff.. But it's a royal arse pain ripping out all that DRM afterwards. It's not hard, but I could find better thing to do with my time, frankly.

  17. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Isn't that a diatribe for Google's OS?

    "In July, software developer Matt Gemmell wrote a lengthy diatribe against Google's mobile OS, saying that compared to Apple's locked-down iOS ecosystem, the Android platform is "designed for piracy."

    Um, isn't that a diatribe *for* Google's OS? I don't want my computers, including my smartphone, to artificially restrict what I can do with them. And I say this as an Android developer! (I recently released an app, Ultra Wifi Manager -- it won't be coming out for IPhone!)

  18. Chezstar
    Childcatcher

    That diatribe was great!

    I haven't seen such frothing dribble for a long time!

    The angry screams of someone making less money than they want, most likely because they write substandard quality apps that no one actually WANTS.

    People will pay for quality. The ones who "nicked" it are helping to increase your popularity in a roundabout way, and while a large percentage of those wouldn't have paid for it anyway, the increased popularity of your app will bring others in who WILL buy it, who otherwise wouldn't have (as they wouldn't have heard of it).

    Swings and roundabouts, piracy is bad, but piracy is also good in its own little way.

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