updated 10:55 pm EST, Wed February 25, 2009
Paid apps blocked on G1
Google has changed the terms of its Android Market to prevent owners of unlocked G1 handsets from downloading paid applications, according to Macworld. The unlocked phones are now unable to download copy-protected programs, which includes the paid content. The transition was completed relatively quietly, although acknowledged on a help site by a Google employee. "If you're using an unlocked, developer phone, you'll be unable to view any copy protected application," the response read. "This is a chance that was made recently."
The change could be an attempt to eliminate a loophole allowing owners of the phones to download the paid applications for free. "These phones give developers of handset software full permissions to all aspects of the device," Google said in a statement. "We aren't distributing copy protected applications to these phones in order to minimize unauthorized copy of the applications."
Developers have voiced opinions about the possible reasons, with Tim at the Stazzere.com blog noting that protected apps exist in a private folder on all Android phones. In theory, a developer potentially could buy an app and then copy it from the private folder. After returning the app for a refund, the user could simply re-download the app and use it for free.
"The even worse part, is that protectd applications don't stay in the protected folder when installed via a web download or adb install," said Tim. "They simply get pushed into the normal /data/app folder... Some protection huh?"