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4/9/2012
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Eric Zeman
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RIM Moves Against Pirated Android Apps On PlayBook

RIM wants to block PlayBook owners from 'sideloading' Android applications, in a move designed to protect developers.

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PlayBook OS 2.0, which was distributed by Research In Motion in February, allows tablet owners to install and run Android applications. Those apps need to be repackaged by developers, and run in an emulator environment on the tablet. They can be downloaded from the BlackBerry App World store. Well, the official versions, anyway.

Not all Android developers are ready to repackage their applications for RIM's PlayBook. While PlayBook owners wait for official app releases, unofficial versions of some Android apps for PlayBook OS have become available. These are apps that have been repackaged by people other than the original developer and are being distributed outside the Android Market and BlackBerry App World.

They are, in other words, pirated apps.

Since the pirated apps skip the official distribution channels, that means for-pay applications aren't earning any income for the original developer. RIM has taken notice of the issue. This isn't a case of "no harm, no foul," said Alec Saunders, RIM's VP of developer relations, in a Twitter exchange with a developer. "Have seen apps from devs uploaded by others, and charged for by people who don't own."

[ Will RIM's "do or die" plan work? See RIM CEO Pledges Enterprise Focus, But Clock Ticks. ]

So RIM is going to do something about it.

"We're removing sideloading for consumers," said Saunders. "Piracy is a huge problem for Android devs, and we don't want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android Market. Pretty sure we've got a solution for devs."

RIM will push a software update to the PlayBook in the near future that blocks the ability to sideload applications. This means apps will only be available through the official, RIM-sanctioned BlackBerry App World.

Sound familiar to you? That's because RIM is apparently adopting Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch application policy. Apple, too, restricts application access to the App Store, which it controls. The only way to install non-approved applications on an iPhone is to jailbreak it. Saunders didn't say if the forthcoming PlayBook update would also break the ability to jailbreak the PlayBook, which has been possible now for several months.

Google takes a different approach. While hundreds of thousands of applications are available to Android devices via the Google Play Store, owners of Android devices can choose to install apps from non-approved sources if they so wish. No hacking is required to enable this functionality. Instead, users must simply check a little box in the settings menu. Google warns that in so doing, however, customers are taking a risk with respect to security and privacy.

Is RIM's change in stance here a big deal for end users? No, it isn't. It is the right thing for RIM to do if it wants to protect its relationship with its developer community. Right now, RIM needs to be highly protective of its developers. Without devs, there are no apps, and without apps, its BlackBerry OS 10, slated for release late this year, will die before it reaches the market.

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EVVJSK
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EVVJSK,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2012 | 5:30:32 PM
re: RIM Moves Against Pirated Android Apps On PlayBook
Adoption of the Playbook devices by consumers is the biggest hurdle for both RIM and for Blackberry developers. Maybe RIM should take their time in eliminating sideloading, so that Playbook can actually get some traction in the market. Then there will be a MARKET for developers.
John doe
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John doe,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2012 | 5:07:19 PM
re: RIM Moves Against Pirated Android Apps On PlayBook
Agreed with the 2 posts below, Rim can't afford to lose what very few users it has left. The people that pickup the last few Playbooks are the last hold outs of RIM, These are the guys you want to piss off the least, these are the guys that are the Devs and the true hardcore fans. But I guess RIM does not care, and it really come down to this "Rim just does not care anymore"
cobaltblue1975
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cobaltblue1975,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2012 | 4:23:01 PM
re: RIM Moves Against Pirated Android Apps On PlayBook
I think RIM needs to STFU and take whatever attention it can get at this point. Pissing off your last 10 customers isn't a good idea.
StareClips.com
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StareClips.com,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2012 | 4:05:00 PM
re: RIM Moves Against Pirated Android Apps On PlayBook
RIM is already dead. They just haven't gotten the memo yet.
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