/ amazon

Proprietary App Stores Bode Trouble for Android

It is rare that I find myself genuinely concerned when I read the tech news. I am quite often bemused, or even annoyed – but rarely concerned. However, today, I am concerned. On TalkAndroid today there’s an article discussing Amazon’s intent to open their own Android App Store. This article also brought it to my attention that Verizon has plans to do the same thing. This is the worst idea that I’ve heard in a long, long time.

If anything, Android’s biggest problem as a platform is its fragmentation. As mobile service providers continue to butcher it to put their bloatware on it, they reduce the value of “Android” as a marketable brand. These secondary App Markets are only going to make things worse. What I don’t understand is why people are so intent on reinventing the wheel! The App Market is pretty good as it is now. Why does it need to change?

To be honest, the future that I predict – that scares me – is when Verizon’s VCast AppMarket comes preloaded on phones and the original AppMarket is removed. For people like me, that’s not going to pose a problem. I take a hacker’s mindset toward these sorts of things, and I will not be denied access to the Android Market if I want access to the Android Market. Much like I strongly suspect that I’m going to hack the next Android device I own to install the real Android OS on it, because Motorola and Samsung really like putting cheap knock offs of the real Android on their phones. (HTC did a pretty good job though.)

I think that it’s perfectly fine if Verizon or Amazon want to try doing their own thing,* but* that’s only as long as I – as an end user – have the option to choose not to use it. And if Motorola’s little Droid X boot loader is any indication, the cellphone makers are starting to tighten their control on the Android platform. And that scares me a little bit.

But seriously, am I the only Android user out there that finds this concerning? What can we as an android community do to prevent this from becoming a problem?