Some Comments on the Android Market


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  1. mckinleytabor

    mckinleytabor Member This Topic's Starter

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    In order to maintain the "open" aspect of the platform, the onboard Android Application distribution system (Android Market) CAN NOT be the only method for getting third party apps on the system.

    Sure it's convenient, but there must be several other ways to do it, including direct web download via the on board browser and copying the install package to the device (via USB, bluetooth file transfer, sd card, etc).

    While the Android Market store may not regulate what apps can go up, lawsuits filed by companies who feel that a particular application steps on its space might force Google to take an app down.

    The question of Google's responsibility under the law as a distributor of applications is an interesting one. Under the DMCA, a copyright holder can file a "take down" notice with a content distributor asking them to remove content they feel is in violation. Likewise the original publisher of the content in question can file a "counter take down" response with the distributor, and in effect force the content distributor to republish the material. The process of "take down"/"counter take down" gives the content distributor safe harbor from lawsuits both filed by the copyright holder, and a lawsuit filed by the original publisher for NOT putting the content back up once a "counter take down" notice has been filed. Of course the copyright holder is free to pursue the publisher, but at this point it cannot bring the distributor into the suit.

    However, software is not just about copyright, it is also about patents, and the best of my knowledge, the DMCA ONLY covers copyrighted martial. I am not sure under what legal framework the Google Lawyers are operating, but my guess is that they almost assuredly have a "when asked, we'll remove" policy in regards to applications in the Android Market. Anything less would, I think, open up Google to being a co-defendant in legal actions brought ageist third party developers with regards to patent infringement.

    Having said all of that, the end run here would be decentralization. Have an Android Market, but unlike the iPhone, allow users to download and install APK files from anywhere and install them. That way if there is a question about the legality of an application, it will force the plaintiff to go after the publisher/programmer, which is A LOT harder than sending a form letter to one place and in effect obliterate the application.

    Decentralized distribution is the only way to protect open source from software patent trolls and copyright absolutist.
     

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  2. Phases

    Phases Community Manager Administrator

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    I'm almost certain people, organizations, will be able to manage and push applications from their own servers pretty easily.

    *disclaimer: I'm only mostly perfect and can sometimes be wrong. I just feel like I remember Rob telling me about this.
     
  3. JedEye

    JedEye Active Member

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    This IS on the iPhone via Cydia. And it will also be on andriod. This is the only way for private repositories etc etc. Soon after the release something like it will be available no doubt.
     
  4. OrganizedFellow

    OrganizedFellow Well-Known Member

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    The phone isn't even in the public hands yet, and already have many apps to choose from.

    How long do you think that it will be before Android 1.0 becomes 1.2 or 2.0?
    How long do you think that it will be before the G1 becomes G2? G5?
    How long ... you get the picture.

    Before long, developers may issue updates and/or patches for newer version of Android, or newer hardware, etc.

    As a consumer and non-developer, I think it would benefit the application developers to only have to worry about ONE location of their downloads - Andoid Market.
    If Android apps were allowed on public FTPs and websites for download, can you imagine the trouble and pain in the ass it would be to meter all that traffic and manage updates?

    I think the way the market is set up is the way to go.
     
  5. mckinleytabor

    mckinleytabor Member This Topic's Starter

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    I do not argue that, from a consumer standpoint, having a single place from which to download and install application isn't a benefit. I agree whole heatedly that there should be a android market. However, there should also be a method to install application which do not originate from that distribution channel.

    As to the "pain in the ass" aspect of it, I would argue that this additional decentralized method for acquiring software works fine. The Windows Mobile platform does not have an "apps store" yet there are many thousands of applications for it. Same for the Palm, Blackberry, and Symbian platforms.

    If you want to get even more technical, the exact same model works for the PC market. There is no single place on your computer from which you can download/buy all available PC software. (Linux Binary repositories not withstanding :) )
     
  6. OrganizedFellow

    OrganizedFellow Well-Known Member

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    Heck man, GOOD POINT!
    :)

    I suppose it is something that changes along with the age of the operating system?
     

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