updated 03:10 pm EDT, Thu July 1, 2010
ATT thinks Android Market limit needed for users
AT&T has quietly defended its stance on banning non-Market Android apps in an FAQ on its Android promo page. The carrier is arguing that the policy "forces developers to be accountable" as their apps can easily be pulled if they're malicious or otherwise a risk. It contended that the development environment was still free as Google almost always approved apps.
The statements are accurate but don't address problems with restricting access outside of Android Market. Without the option, customers can't install pre-release versions of apps. They could similarly be subject to outside pressure for app rejections, such as if AT&T objects to a Wi-Fi hotspot app, a VoIP app or another utility that might bypass its official plans.
AT&T has been one of the most cautious adopters of Android in the US. Besides being the only network whose phones ban non-Market apps, it only has two devices on market, the Motorola Backflip and the more recent HTC Aria. The Samsung Captivate will represent its first high-end Android phone, although Google's Nexus One has been available since the spring and doesn't carry the tougher app limits. [via InformationWork]