Android modder attempts to outmaneuver Google

Google cried foul over Cyanogen developer's distribution of its mobile apps, but he says he's found a workaround

The creator of a popular souped-up version of Android thinks he's found a way to avoid a further tussle with Google over distribution of the company's mobile applications.

Google recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to Android guru Steve Kondik asking him to stop distributing applications such as Gmail with Cyanogen, his modified version of the open-source Android operating system.

Cyanogen adds a load of enhancements such as an MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) shortcut and support for the FLAC audio format.

People are allowed to modify and redistribute the Android operating system because it is open source software, but Google's mobile applications are not.

They're available through the Android Market online apps store, and are preinstalled on some Android devices under the name Google Experience. But by bundling the applications with his modified software, Kondik violated Google's copyrights, the company said.

"We make some of these apps available to users of any Android-powered device via Android Market, and others are pre-installed on some phones through business deals," wrote Dan Morrill on the Android developer blog.

"Either way, these apps aren't open source, and that's why they aren't included in the Android source code repository. Unauthorized distribution of this software harms us just like it would any other business, even if it's done with the best of intentions."

Kondik has backed down but thinks there is a workaround that may allow users of his software to continue to access Google's applications such as Maps, GTalk, Android Market and YouTube, while keeping Google's lawyers at bay.

Installing Cyanogen means reflashing the phone, a process which erases the original software before reinstalling the modified version of Android.

He now intends to release a "bare bones" version of Cyanogen without the applications, leaving it to modders to make a backup copy of the Google applications that shipped with their phone for later reinstallation before hacking away at the Android software.

"The idea is that you'll be able to Google-ify your CyanogenMod installation with the applications and files that shipped on your device already," Kondik wrote.

"I will include an alternative app store (SlideMe, or AndAppStore, not decided yet) with the basic ROM so that you can get your applications in case you don't have a Google Experience device."

Google did not have a comment on the plans.

The first Android phone was released about a year ago by T-Mobile, and up to two million of the phones may have been sold, according to analysts.

Up to a dozen Android devices may be on the market by the end of the year.

Cyanogen is one of the more popular versions of Android, with up to 30,000 active users, according to Kondik.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Googlehackmobile linuxGoogle AndroidAndroidCyanogen

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?