updated 06:05 pm EDT, Fri August 6, 2010
Kmart caught stocking tablet with pirated Android
The mystery $150 Augen Android tablet at Kmart is using a bootleg copy of Android, Google said in a response this afternoon. The GenTouch78 is using software it shouldn't have from an "unauthorized vendor" and has bypassed the usual legal channels. Only members of the Open Handset Alliance or official partners can use the software legally, the search firm told Laptop in a statement.
Augen hasn't answered the accusations, but it's possible the company obtained the apps separately from the publicly available Android builds. Despite the mostly open source nature of Android, Google only offers a basic subset of Android apps for those who don't go through a formal licensing program, even when it charges no royalties.
The observations leave Kmart stocking what amounts to illegal devices on its shelves and suggests Augen will be making a quick exit from the tablet market in the US. Very cheap tablets hoping to compete with the iPad are common and in southeast Asia are often deliberate clones of Apple's work, but few of these or from any other country reach the US as they often fear legal action banning them from stores.