Android is built for piracy…if you ignore the facts

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Developer Matt Gemmell, who produces apps primarily for Apple's iOS, wrote a blog that condemns Google's open operating system, Android. His most damning accusation is that the OS is "designed for piracy from the ground up." His point is that an open platform comes at the expense of profitability. 

To support his claim, he points to a procedure called sideloading. This is the process by which Android users can download games and apps from anywhere on the web (including file-sharing networks), load them on an SD card, and then boot them up on the phone without paying anyone a dime. That is all true. 

With many of the Google-based handsets, users don't even need to root their devices before they can use this method. 

I've sideloaded a handful of beta apps that weren't ready for the Google Play Store. I could retrieve the program from the developers website and sideload it for a chance at early access. Alternative markets, like the Amazon Appstore, are not available in the Play Store. The only possible way to legitimately use this service is by way of sideloading.

Still, this is an obvious flaw in the open-versus-closed philosophy. If only Google would do something to address this gaping hole in its security.

Oh, wait…it did.

"The Google Play Licensing service is primarily intended for paid applications that wish to verify that the current user did in fact pay for the application on Google Play."

That comes from the official page for the Android Application Licensing service. It's a digital-rights-management platform provided by Google. It's real, it exists, and it doesn't really fit the narrative that Android is built for piracy.

Sure, this doesn't change the fact that piracy is a problem on the OS, but a viable solution is available. Perhaps Gemmell should be asking his Android counterparts why they don't use the tools available to them to fight this age-old issue with all software.

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