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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GoogleAndroidhackGoogle Androidmobile linuxCyanogen

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?