The New T-Mobile G1 Android Has A Remote Kill Switch For Apps

October 17, 2008 by Mary Anne Simpson weblog
G1 Android
G1 Android

The new T-Mobile G1 phone with Android goes on sale October 22nd. A sneak peak at the first phone to run Android reveals a notice to users that goes as follows: "Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement ... in such an instance, Google reserves the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion."

The Google upfront remote kill notice is unlike the Apple 3G iPhone remote kill switch that was inadvertently discovered by a developer after the phone had been released. Google may have learned something from Apple that these type of surprises can backfire. Whether it will make a difference to prospective G1 buyers remains to be seen. Google appears to be making a good faith effort to make up for the possibility of a user getting burned by a no-go application.

According to Google, every attempt will be made to get the application download fee refunded to G1 phone users. In the event there is a recovery Google will evenly divide up the proceeds among effected users. The Android Market unlike the Apple Apps Store is not pre-approved. In order for an application to appear in the Apple Apps Store it has to be tested and approved by Apple.

The Android Market appears to allow all applications to appear without an approval. Thus, there may be some applications that Google finds problematic. In fact, no guarantee exists at the present time by Android Market that the applications contained therein are free of malicious quirks. It is a very egalitarian market place which includes the basic buyer beware inherent warning. If it looks weird forget it.

One advantage of the Android Market is the ability to return the application within 24-hours if for any reason the application is unsatisfactory. If no trial version is available a user may return it within 24-hours and receive a full refund. Android users may download the same application as many times as desired. This feature is designed to assist buyers of an application in the event the application for any reason does not download. Initially, the applications are no charge because Google is still working on the mechanisms for allowing developers to charge a fee.

The notices and kudos for individuals and companies that contributed to the development of the G1 Android phone may be found in the "About Phone" section of the phone. While a remote application kill switch may seem a bit Orwellian to some users, at least Google was a bit more upfront than Apple.

Explore further: Android uh-oh resides in vulnerability dubbed Certifi-gate

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5 comments

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fuchikoma
3.8 / 5 (4) Oct 17, 2008
Well, so much for "Don't be evil," not that this is the first time they've violated that... marketing phrase.

It's good of them to mention it up front; I guess that allows the wary to opt out. I hack almost every device I own for legal purposes without fail, so I suppose Android just became irrelevant to me.
Smerff
2.7 / 5 (3) Oct 17, 2008
You both seem to be short a few brain cells here. Open source = more possibility of malicious content, including viruses. The ability for Google to mass kill a program that has a virus in it when found, is not a bad thing. Unless you're into viruses on your pc/phone of course.
rickybobby
3 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2008
you must be short alot of brain cells. linux is open source yet its highly resistant if not near virus proof. yet windows is not open source but theres millions of viruses for it. open source gives you the choice to make or install whatever you want at your own risk. common sense applies.
bmcghie
not rated yet Oct 18, 2008
Thank you, rickybobby... The common sense card is one that is played far too infrequently these days.
Smerff
not rated yet Oct 19, 2008
you must be short alot of brain cells. linux is open source yet its highly resistant if not near virus proof. yet windows is not open source but theres millions of viruses for it. open source gives you the choice to make or install whatever you want at your own risk. common sense applies.


This is true, and I'm not disputing that. It's the fact that if android takes off, and slides into many different makes and models of cell phones then it may very well end up with the same problem that windows has. My question is what reason would google have to remote kill an app unless it's malicious, or illegal of sorts. They are making no money off the O.S., the purchases or anything except the advertising itself. If anything I could see the service provider moreso using the remote kill command then Google, which would be a viable reason to want to pull it out. Google isn't per say a household item. You don't need to use google to surf the web, you don't need to use their email services etc. You have almost an infinite amount of options, whereas with a computer OS you are more limited (if you're a basic "get me on the internet, etc, user.) Google can hardly play any card like M$ or even apple in regards to upsetting the consumer or they would lose a great deal of buisness. Logically speaking, they would not use it to kill apps, unless they contained malicious content of sorts. Right now the only way Google makes money (that I'm aware) is based off people using their free products. If people don't want to use their product because of stupid restrictions and removal of content, then people will simply use other options. Feel free to comment, I'm interested in your response :)

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