Google Pulls Copy-Protected Apps from Unlocked G1 Phones

    February 27, 2009
    Chris Crum

In a Google support forum for the Android market, a user asked, "Does anyone know why Shazam and Calorie Counter are no longer available in the Android Market?"

"If you’re using an unlocked, developer phone, you’ll be unable to view any copy-protected application, including Shazam and Calorie Counter. This is a change that was made recently," responded Google Employee Ash.

Apps without borders?

To recap, Google is no longer allowing users with unlocked G1 phones to view copy-protected applications. Nancy Gohring with IDG News Service speculates:

While Google offered only slim details about why it made the change, it could be an attempt to close a loophole that reportedly allows users of the unlocked phone to download paid applications for free. "The Developer version of the G1 is designed to give developers complete flexibility," Google said in a statement. "These phones give developers of handset software full permissions to all aspects of the device… We aren’t distributing copy protected applications to these phones in order to minimize unauthorized copy of the applications."

Needless to say, developers are unhappy about the situation. The phone costs $400 to developers who have paid $25 to join the Android developer program. Gohring points to one developer calling for a "developer revolt" in which they would all pull their apps from the marketplace. Clearly a nerve has been struck.