Google Android Market fee favours big brands
Andy Pad maker coughs to using unlicensed app store
Andrew Kerry, head of the company behind the Andy Pad cut-price Android tablet, has coughed to implementing the Android Market on his product without Google's permission.
But, he insists, the move was forced upon him by what he claims is a tacit "tie up" between Google and "big brands" in the tablet space that has "strangled the market" and steered punters to pick their products "over smaller brands such as Andy Pad".
"There is a David and Goliath situation here," wrote Kerry.
Kerry's comments imply Google wants rather a lot of cash for the rights to Android Market, and only the Samsungs, Motorolas and Acers of this world can afford to participate.
"We felt this was unfair, not just towards us as a manufacturer, but to the customers that cannot afford to spend hundreds of pounds on these higher end devices that can actually be produced for the customer at a much cheaper price."
He could have left it out surely? No, he says. "It is very important for tablet/mobile devices to have an app store installed. The end-user experience can be seriously harmed if this kind of software is not included."
Going forward, AndyPad will gain Amazon's Marketplace, Kerry said, prompted presumably by the initial-but-brief roll-out of the Amazon app store globally yesterday.
Meanwhile, Kerry will continue to seek to get Android Marketplace officially licensed for the Andy Pad.
That may not be enough to calm worried Andy Pad owners who fear Google might remotely zap apps they have downloaded.
Others say Andy Pad should have come clean about this sooner, saying they might not have bought the tablet if they had known.
Kerry insists his company has never stated that Android Market is included in the Andy Pad. The implication: punters should view the Market's presence as a bonus, not a key part of the tablet's spec.
Maybe, but this official Tweet from Andy Pad shows that it has in the past promised Android Market support. ®
Thanks to Blooey for the tip
I thought it was common knowledge. I know El Reg has mentioned it before: Google provide the Android OS for free, but retain control to Google-branded apps and the Android Market, which require a license. The license is not free and further requires Google's approval of the device.
Would people stop mixing up the OS and other services please. Similar complaints arose when Google limited access to the movie rental service to rooted devices and were equally daft. I really don't understand this assumption that once a company mentions the word "Open", everything that they do should be open! The Market is a service on top of Android. While I'm a little disappointed to see that Google are charging for manufacturers to license the market (I thought it was only limited by ability to pass the compatability tests), I'll get over that.
As for what is "expected", well, that's down to you chum, not them.
Android is open
The Android operating system is fully open source. The issue is with the Google Apps, which the Market is part of. These are not freely distributable nor open source.
Google need to make up their mind
Do they want a broad and open ecosystem or a controlled proprietary structure?
Interesting bit at the end here: http://source.android.com/compatibility/index.html
"Once you've built a compatible device, you may wish to include Android Market to provide your users access to the third-party app ecosystem. Unfortunately, for a variety of legal and business reasons, we aren't able to automatically license Android Market to all compatible devices. To inquire about access about Android Market, you can contact us."
I'd quite like to know if there's anything beyond the monetary side of a license (especially anything technical) that prevents the automatic licensing of the Market.
I didn't realise they charged for the market for device makers (honestly hadn't seen that mentioned anywhere before ...). Ad revenue for Google isn't guaranteed on free apps btw as devs aren't limited to AdMob as a provider. There is a one off $25 dev registration fee though.