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Android: Open, but not Broken [Take on app piracy]

‘Open is broken’, that’s what main-stream iOS developers and despondent Android developers feel. The Dead Trigger cataclysm has apparently triggered a lot of Anti-Android vibes, in and around the tech-world. Though claims that Android is giving too much liberty to the end-user in the name of “Open Source” seems a bit legitimate, claiming that it is designed for “piracy” is a bit far-flung and to some extent sophomoric and pointless. Piracy sees no platform.

Google Play has been slammed by developers since long for not providing enough norms to tighten security and prevent piracy. Liberty does not imply absence of restrictions, liberty means freedom from restrictions. While many believe Apple is more secure and robust, I believe Apple snatches away liberty from masses. What’s the point in buying an expensive Ferrari 360, if Ferrari is not going to allow you to do anything more than what it has explicitly stated.

“Hey, you cannot drive on that road yet; it breaches our code of conduct. We would first test the road a million times, charge them annually for building the road and making it available to us, and if we feel, you’re good to go, we would allow you to drive. So what if you bought the car, it’s for us to decide if the road is good for you or not. Oh, btw, the ride is not free either. Thanks “

“Sorry Sir! You cannot insert your music player in the car. You can use the embedded player instead; every song is streamed at just $0.99.”

The choice is thus between freedom and boredom.

Anyways, we have to accept this: Though Android seems a bit half-baked and prone to some occasional vulnerabilities, techies would any day prefer Android over iOS (for the obvious reason stated above). And for the same obvious reason, there are 51% Android users, while Apple users lag behind at 17%. The incongruity also lies in the fact that developers prefer Android for development as it is open (APIs are readily available), more popular and it does not impound heavy-handed approach in testing and screening apps. (Unlike RIM and Apple)

Beyond doubts, there are vulnerabilities and loopholes in the Google Play Store. The piracy levels are all-time high and the increase in the number of pirates is, phenomenal. Piracy on Android has increased by more than 10% for high-end graphic games and around 7% for other paid apps. It is believed that major stake-holder in app piracy is China, as Chinese are barred from buying apps enlisted on the Play Store.

It’s not that there is no piracy on iOS. It’s no sacrosanct, afterall.

There has been a steady increase in the app and in-app privacy for iOS platform as well. In-app piracy refers to illegally gaining access to certain appraised game components. Dead Trigger developer, Rabas in an interview said that Google’s IAP (In-app-purchase) mechanism was far more superior to Apple. Though he criticized Google heavily for its lukewarm app-hosting policy, he did not deny concrete links to iOS piracy as well.

To combat piracy issues, Google’s Bouncer mechanism is already afloat and is working surprisingly well for most, except for some. Too lame a statement, perhaps.

On an ending note, we would like to throw light on some more facts. Over 75% of the piracy happens on Android 2.3, a rather obsolete version of Android OS. There has been a significant decline in app piracy in Android 4.0 ICS, mainly due to app encryption features. Jellybeans with subtle security upgrades is designed to put a full stop to such issues, forever.

Pirates of ‘Appibean’ would have to explore a new route then. Hope it’s the solemn one.

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