If you're an Android
app developer, and you have been troubled in the
past by ill-willed people stealing your apps and then hosting them
online for others to download, it's evident that Google
is listening to
your squealing. Apple's App Store has been seen as relatively secure
when it comes to copy protection on apps; while it's theoretically
possible to jailbreak your iPhone
and then download/install illicit
applications without paying, it's definitely an arduous process that
many don't care to even get involved with.
But with Android, one of its greatest assets could also be seen as one
of its greatest downfalls for app developers. Most Android phones
support a feature called "sideloading," which is something that Android
owners pride themselves in having access to while iPhone owners do not.
This basically allows users to just drag an app (.apk file) onto their
device via USB and then install it that way. In other words, you never
even have to visit the Android Market in order to install an app.
But piracy due to this is obviously an issue. Google is planning to curb
some of that soon by changing the process by which devs can copy
protect their creations. The new "licensing server" system is available
now for devs that show interest, and it will become the main copy
protection mechanism for Android over the next few months. Basically,
this new system will allow an app to "phone home" to a licensing server
in order to double check to see if an app has actually been purchased by
the user of the phone. This will obviously not sit well with some end
users (for example, what happens when you try to use an app while
offline?), but it's probably a good thing in the long run. What do you
think? Are you in favor of the new system?