AT&T to Allow Amazon Appstore on their Android Devices
If you're with AT&T like I am, then you know how stubborn they are about having a tight grip on Android handsets. Probably one of the things I hate most about AT&T, is that they removed the system option to let me download third-party apps (applications from sources outside of the Android Market) which makes me miss out on a lot of good apps, including the 1Mobile app you see advertised here on Android Headlines.
On most handsets that are powered by Google's mobile operating system, this option is turned off for security reasons, but you do in fact have the option to go into the application settings to enable access to a source outside of the official market. But not if you're with AT&T, though. Some other carriers warn customers about the security risks of using non-Android Market stores, and freely let them choose to turn the setting off or on. If you don't know, third-party application sources include .APK files (Android Package) which are used by developers and third-party Marketplaces like Amazon's new Appstore. If you're with AT&T, you've probably already noticed you can't download from them either.
AT&T Plays Nice With Amazon
Under AT&T's current guidelines, customers cannot access apps from the Amazon Appstore. AT&T has just ignored people's complaints about blocking third-party applications, that is until the Amazon Appstore hit which has led to even more complaints. In light of this situation, AT&T issued a statement that suggests it may be willing to relax its rules, which I'm guessing it was a little more than just a few complaints for them to do this.
"AT&T plans to offer the Amazon application store for Android smartphones and we're working to give our Android customers access to third-party application stores. This requires updates to our systems and finalizing arrangements with Amazon."
Updates to our systems and finalizing arrangements? It sound like AT&T customers will in fact be getting what they want, but it sounds like it's going to be a while.
Will Amazon Be The Only Exception?
Probably so, for now at least. It is no secret that Google doesn't pre-screen applications that go into the official Android Market. We know this from recent reports and apps being pulled from the Market for containing malware, but luckily Google is quick to remove them. I'm guessing the reason AT&T being so strict about this is because malicious apps have been known to float around for a long time without being noticed. Especially overseas, so I do indeed thank AT&T for that, but I think I'll risk it and trust Amazon.
I have no problem trusting legitimate third-party app stores such as Amazon and the famous GetJar, 'cause they seem to promise they can be just as secure as our faithful Android Market, all while making apps easier to search for and discover with their search engine. Amazon is a big thing and has many faithful customers, and they pre-screen apps before approving them for their own App Store, I guess that's why AT&T is going to loosen its kung-fu grip on third-party apps for the customers. Amazon has already offered many great deals, not just by being the only other place to download the Android version of Angry Birds Rio, but by offering a different free app everyday that would usually cost you money. So we know Amazon's Appstore will be affected, but that leaves the doors open for questions about other sites and sources as well.
GetJar Marketing Chief Makes A Statement
Now if you don't know what GetJar is, it's possibly the worlds largest app store with a open market approach. This allows it to deliver applications for feature phones and smartphones across all major platforms such as Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, iPhone and Symbian among others, with more than 1.5 billion downloads to date in over 200 countries. GetJar's marketing chief Patrick Mork had this to say.
"We'd be delighted if this was the case and we welcome AT&T's move to open Android app distribution to third parties," Mork said in an e-mail. "We believe that the key to Android's success is its open nature, which should impact all elements of the ecosystem….Open distribution enhances the opportunity for developers to reach a greater audience and is the critical first step to ensure healthier monetization."
AT&T didn't share further details on timing or which other third-party stores would be supported. As of right now AT&T still has to update their systems and finalize arrangements with Amazon before anything can happen, so please be patient, for the wait will be well worth it.
"We look forward to sharing more info with our customers in the near future," AT&T said.