February 26, 2009 | by Robert Nelson
Google originally released the developer edition of the G1 this past December and since then it has appeared to be a great handset for a developer or even a person who just wanted to use it with another carrier. However, Google has just changed the rules on that “great handset” and in turn has upset plenty of people.
Forgive this rant-like comments in this post, but it is a little personal for me.
The Developer G1, aside from being a unique looking G1, does offer a few features that are above and beyond what the standard T-Mobile G1 can do. To begin with, the Developer G1 is SIM-unlocked, but it also allows the user to access root folders. This appears to be where Google sees the problem.
According to a recent Google policy, they have restricted access to paid apps on the Developer G1 in what appears to be an attempt to stop piracy. You see, the Developer G1 can access private folders and even store apps on the SD card which could allow users to pirate paid apps. In theory, a user with a Developer G1 could download the paid app, save it on an SD card, request a refund and then re-load the app after the refund is given.
Personally, I cannot imagine many people willing to shell out $399 for the G1, plus the $25 developer fee just so they can download a few paid applications for free.
If you ask me, this just seems to be a little bit of bad business on the part of Google. Consider this, you are an Android developer, someone that is in the process of creating a paid application for Android. You pay your $25 developer fee, buy the $399 unlocked G1, create, test and eventually release your app — then you cannot even see it in the Android Market. It seems Google is just acting on the assumption that their customers are pirates.
While this rule may stop some people from doing this, it is sure to alienate some developers, after all developers are generally OK with paying for apps. If you are a developer you can appreciate the hard work that has gone into the app and in most cases be willing to pay for quality work.
Sadly, I had recently ordered (and am still awaiting delivery) a Developer Edition G1 and given this latest development I wish I would have saved my money. Thanks for nothing Google.