Print 32 comment(s) - last by pandatech.. on Mar 31 at 11:57 PM

Google has began censoring applications on its supposedly "open" G1 phone, due to overlap with services provided with its carrier T-Mobile. It has already yanked a number of tethering apps which T-Mobile is not fond of.
Google takes a page from Apple's playbook

When it comes to mobile apps, Apple has truly set the industry standard.  It was the first handset maker to launch an applications marketplace of the size and scale of its App Store, which recorded over 10 million downloads in its first week.  Other companies would launch similar marketplaces in coming months, like Google's Android Marketplace, or Microsoft's upcoming Sky Market.

However, Apple also received plenty of criticism for its censorship tactics.  Apple denied many applications including a proposed South Park application, for a variety of reasons.  Some rejected or removed applications were deemed offensive; others unlocked forbidden capabilities like tethering or true third-party browsing (not Safari WebKit based). 

Despite the negative reception over such moves, it appears Apple was leading the mobile industry yet again, as Google has reportedly resorted to practicing similar tactics with its Android Marketplace, which sells apps for its G1 smart phone.  T-Mobile, the G1's U.S. carrier, was not too pleased when tethering applications started popping up on the Android Marketplace.  In response, Google took down the apps and informed developers that the apps breached their Developer Distribution Agreement.

It is unclear at this point whether Google has weeded out all tethering apps, and exactly what its standards are.  However, it is clear T-Mobile's terms of service prohibit unofficial tethering.  The author of one of the rejected apps, Wifi Tether for Root Users, says that in a lengthy and heated exchange, Google cited this as a reason for the rejection.

The moves are creating quite a stir as Google has market the G1 as an "open" phone.  It has often taken jabs at Apple over its iPhone application censorship in the past.  Now it finds itself in the same sort of situation -- its carrier, T-Mobile, doesn't want to lose revenue from apps which offer features for free that the carrier charges for (tethering), so it is now forced to comply and remove the offensive app.

The start of G1 app censorship was foreshadowed last year when a "kill switch" for applications was discovered.  However, it was rarely used -- until now.

The whole situation has many G1 users quite unhappy, but it appears to be a sad reality of the smart phone world.  Ultimately, smart phone makers are at mercy of their carriers.  And carriers hate to lose revenue to rebel applications.

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Doesn't change much
By Bharakrama on 3/31/2009 9:52:33 AM , Rating: 4
I don't really see the big deal. Just because they are off the marketplace doesn't mean you can't download it off a website and install it. All you gotta do is check mark the "Allow install of non-Market applications" and get the app installed.

RE: Doesn't change much
By dagamer34 on 3/31/2009 10:26:45 AM , Rating: 2
The people that were dumb enough to pay for the tethering option through T-Mobile never would have figured that out. Heck, they might not even realize that you can download apps to their phone.

And don't think it's not true. Sadly, it really is. =/

RE: Doesn't change much
By Mojo the Monkey on 3/31/2009 4:13:31 PM , Rating: 3
Its actually more complicated than that, but not by much. You have to go root your phone with a download from the xda forums. Its not that hard to do, but enough to deter most casual users.

I think rooting the phone also has implications for future over-the-air updates, but I may be wrong. I'm sure someone else on here knows more.

RE: Doesn't change much
By dvinnen on 3/31/2009 7:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
I was trying to figure out the same thing. Anyone who can root the phone can figure out how to d/l the app from their open source site.

I just checked my G1 and it still works so no kill switch has been thrown. Even if a kill switch exists JesusFreak will figure it out and kill it.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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