“[P]iracy is a huge problem for Android devs, and we don’t want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android market.”
Research In Motion is planning to drop the ability to sideload Android applications on its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, citing that 53 percent of surveyed Android developers believe app piracy is either somewhat of a problem or a huge problem. Alec Saunders, RIM’s VP of Developer Relations, tweeted the citation; a small survey of 75 Android app programmers from last year.
Saunders has a point, although I also see this as a way to deflect flagging sales and a limited application market for the PlayBook. The company has reportedly shipped 1.35 million PlayBooks since the device launched a year ago. Even with the newest software update, which brings added features and functions missing from the initial launch, I haven’t seen any reason to believe RIM is suddenly selling more PlayBooks and doing well. Instead, one of the former CEOs has left, revenue is down, and the new CEO says “substantial change” is needed.
Regardless, what may look as a cheap shot from Saunders about Google’s Android Market — recently renamed Google Play — is actually a fair observation from the standpoint of app quality. The Market is flooded with low-quality apps, but that alone doesn’t concern me as an Android user.
More important to me is wading through the “cesspool” to find the higher-quality apps that fill specific needs. And ironically — given that Google’s expertise is in search — I couldn’t find the new Instagram app when searching Google Play last week. Instead, I had to hit Instagram’s webpage to get the direct Market link.