Google Implementing Licensing Server To Protect Android Apps From Piracy

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?