Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 18th May 2017 21:46 UTC

Over the weekend, it was discovered that the Android Netflix application could no longer be installed on rooted Android devices - in fact, it vanished from the Play Store on rooted devices completely. Netflix then confirmed it started blocking rooted devices from installing the Netflix application.

Well, it turns out we'll only be going downhill from here, as Google explained at I/O that from now on, developers will be able to block their applications from being installed on rooted Android devices.

Developers will be able to choose from 3 states shown in the top image: not excluding devices based on SafetyNet, excluding those that don't pass integrity, or excluding the latter plus those that aren't certified by Google. That means any dev could potentially block their apps from showing and being directly installable in the Play Store on devices that are rooted and/or running a custom ROM, as well as on emulators and uncertified devices (think Meizu and its not-so-legal way of getting Play Services and the Play Store on its phones). This is exactly what many of you were afraid would happen after the Play Store app started surfacing a Device certification status.

This is bad news for the custom ROM community. If I can no longer install Netflix (and possibly more applications) on custom ROMs, there's no way I'll be using custom ROMs on my devices. For now, this is a Play function and we can still sideload the applications in question, but with Google Play Services installed on virtually every Android device, one has to wonder - and worry - how long it'll be before such checks happen on-device instead of in-Play.

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However the damage goes further than just DRM. Even if it's cracked, a significant portion of users will give up their phone customizations when the barriers get too difficult.

My rooted blu life phone running stock android is triggering google's tilt bits and certain apps are missing from the store even when I search for them. I tried the "Magisk" root manager, mentioned by others already, but it's not working on my phone. I'm currently stuck with reduced functionality because google elected to side with media companies to punish owners of modified phones rather than defending owner's rights to modify their own phones. I wonder if google is getting something in return for throwing modified phone users under the bus or if this is something they are doing of their own volition.

Yeah, I was serious but there was a generous degree of tongue in cheek. Your unfortunately spot on with your "once it becomes too hard.." comment and I'm sorry to hear about what's happening with your phone. That's rubbish. ;) My only android device is an antique galaxy note 10.1. The experience turned me off Samsung and soured my opinion of droid thus far.

Reminds me of the days of OpenDarwin and when you could compile up to mid-way through the 10.2 era your own kernel and user-land then CCC or ditto the proprietary bits over to have your own distro. Once it became too hard and too many missing parts.. people gave up. I was one.

Perhaps there needs to be a different approach. See.. DEC and Microsoft did a couple of interesting things with a couple of their propriety systems by giving access to enthusiasts to their systems in a controlled and legit way. I noticed with both instances that giving enthusiasts a positive direction to focus their energies on. DEC (and continued by HP) did it with VMS and the hobbyist license where they would for an annual re-issue (free) give you a set of license codes for everything in the SPL (software product lib) .. everything. All compilers.

Microsoft did it when people were trying to run homebrew on the Xbox360 and PS3 ..MS released the XNA platform which let people develop and share software that ran on the console with access to all the consoles features. I firmly feel that this dramatically reduced the cracking efforts for the platform and indeed I recall it was around 2-3 years after the PS3 was cracked that the 360 was quietly cracked and then mostly for pirated software.

Perhaps there needs to be a sandbox so people can pull the O/S and apps apart .. in a sensible and controlled fashion?

Food for thought hopefully,

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