Linked by David Adams on Thu 31st Mar 2011 16:41 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption If you download and use what appears to be a version of the commercial "Walk and Text" Android app from a file sharing site, you're in for a surprise. When you run it, it shows you that it's being "cracked" but it's really gathering information from your device, in preparation for an e-smackdown. It sends a bunch of personal information (name, phone number, IMEI) off to a server, and, just for lulz, text messages everyone on your contact list:
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RE[6]: Nice !
by gerg on Fri 1st Apr 2011 14:00 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Nice !"
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"Seriously, what exactly are you evaluating where you need more than five or ten minutes? Furthermore, what do you need to evaluate beyond fifteen minutes which user comments haven't already helped guide.

Geez, where to begin? Alarm clocks (want to see if it actually works?), weather widgets that are supposed to update hourly, apps (such as email clients and rss readers) that you need to configure/sync, gps applications, location-based services, games that may take longer than 15 minutes to download, etc.

Most of that depends on core Android services. Contrary to many user comments, applications are not generating bad locations. This is almost always a bug in Google's database. Thusly, application has zero control of it. As for alarms, again, that's a core android service. Either your device works or it doesn't. Synchronization is generally something which can be done quickly. Most games do not take that long to download. Some game content does take consideration duration; but comments will generally steer you here.

Most importantly, you're also ignoring that a charge back process exist. So while its not widely known, its actually fairly easy to get your money back. Developers have zero say and they always side with users so long as the app costs less than $10 or $20 bucks (sorry, forget exact amount). Which means, 99+% of all android apps have zero risk to users. For fundamentally broken apps, such as you suggest, which are actually extremely rare without corresponding user comments, its almost impossible to take a hit as a user even without the charge back process.

What if you have an app that runs in the background, and you want to see how much of a drain on the battery it is? What if you want to download some apps in an airport that you want to try out on the plane?

This is what user comments are for. As for the plane, that's pretty unreasonable.

I agree that 5-10 minutes is more than enough time for many apps (since you know immediately that many of them are garbage), but one size does not fit all, so I will continue downloading from the dark web as long as this policy is in place. I don't want to feel like I am racing against the clock when evaluating something.

Honestly, most developers couldn't care less about users who use pirate downloads for evaluation basis. The problems stem from those who claim this and yet constantly use the application and never pay for it. This is, unfortunately, the vast majority of pirates.

Perhaps they should let the developer choose the trial period? Then you would know instantly that when a dev gives you only 15 minutes, the app/game is not even worth bothering with. And btw, the user comments are nearly universally useless. Either somebody is bitching that it doesn't work on his particular phone, or you get a 1 star review that says 'this app sucks' without any explanation whatsoever.

That's one of the reasons why developers almost universally loath user comments and rarely, if ever, monitor them. Just the same, for any application which has more than a trivial number of downloads and reviews, critical issues are extremely likely to be reported. So while comments are extremely abusive on developers and applications, they do work well to protect consumers. As a consumer, you may have to read a couple pages of comments, but that's hardly unreasonable.

As for the ad-blocker, that's really unfair. You need to keep in mind, most developers are ONLY able to generate income from ads because pirates prevent a profit otherwise.

"So why not offer a paid version along-side the ad-supported one? Or offer an in-app option to disable ads for a fee? Instead of pirating, I think most people would just opt to put up with the ads. But for the rest of us who will not put up with ads under ANY circumstances, don't assume that just because there are pirates out there, you can't make a profit. Believe it or not, some of us actually would like to give you money. Hell, I even donate to some developers of free apps/custom roms, just because they ask nicely.

I'm sorry, I thought the answer was obvious. Its because a paid version frequently means it will be pirated and once pirated, completely (or largely) guts the developer's income. Thusly, you're argument boils down to, "I don't care if developers get paid so long as they create a version which ensures they don't get paid." As I said, this is starting to change now that licensing options are available, but that too requires lots and lots of development to do right.

Contrary to what you may believe, the licensing code absolutely is not a couple of minutes, out of the box solution. And releasing a "pro", paid version, is frequently impossible because of pirates for 99% of developers (historically, again, starting to change). Which is turn, is frequently one of the main reasons why a licensed version may not be available.

Small developers have finite time. Frequently, the paid version is released only after the product has stabilized and proved financially viable (else the additional time is pure waste - which can destroy a small developer) via the ad ware route. Which basically means, you and others like you, can be one of the single largest reasons why a paid version is not available. So again, you're argument boils down to, "I'm not supporting developers because they don't create the applications I want because I'm not supporting developers." Again, as I originally stated, extremely unfair for developers.

Again, by blocking ads, you are not only helping to create the very problem which you are railing against, but are unethically failing to meet your societal and contractual obligation. Which ultimately means, you're part of the problem with Android's ecosystem, regardless if you want to admit it or not.

I sincerely hope you'll reconsider your position after hearing the other side. For a healthy ecosystem to function, requires both producers and consumers. Thus far, the consumers have been brutally dishonest and unfair with the producers. Ask yourself, would you want to be treated dishonestly and as unfairly as you've been treating developers? Unless you're a hypocrite, the answer is extremely unlikely to be, "yes." After all, if you find value in something (implied by its existence on your device), its not unreasonable for you to pay where you find value. That's how capitalism works.


P.S. Sorry for hosed quoting - what's displayed isn't what was entered and the article looks nothing like what it did in the preview. I'm pretty sure its an OSnews bug.

Edited 2011-04-01 14:19 UTC

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