December 20, 2014

ADP1: Just Say Swap

The Android developer phone — the ADP1 — suffers from two main flaws at present:

  • It does not support priced applications. I believe that is because it lacks the 1.1 firmware, which is still under development for that device. Once that firmware is released, the ADP1 should, as far as I know, support priced apps. This assumes, though, that there are priced applications that are not intrinsically copy-protected, because…
  • It does not support copy-protected apps. This appears to be a permanent decision, to help prevent app piracy.

A number of developers are up in arms about this, since these limitations, particularly the latter, were not exactly well-advertised when the ADP1 went on sale. For those people who bought the ADP1 for firmware development, these limitations may not be a big deal. For those people who bought the ADP1 because they wanted Android hardware and could not get a T-Mobile G1, these limitations are far more painful.

One simple solution for the latter group: sell your ADP1. Use eBay, Craigslist, or a regional equivalent. Tweet that you have an ADP1 for sale, or post a note on [android-discuss], or JavaRanch, or anddev.org, or wherever.

Once you have recouped at least some of the ADP1 cost, you have two main courses of action:

  1. Stick with the Android emulator for now. If you bought the ADP1 for application development, you should have a fairly good idea at this point how well the emulator mirrors actual hardware for whatever application(s) you are working on. It may be you can get by without an actual Android device for the time being. It may be you permanently stick with just the emulator, or perhaps you wait for some other Android hardware to become available.
  2. Buy a T-Mobile G1. There are a few hundred up on eBay now, plus what looks like dozens or hundreds more across craigslist, let alone from other sites or buying one officially from T-Mobile. Prices are lower than what the ADP1 cost, even before the ADP1 shipping fees come into play.

Is this a headache? Yes. If you have been using the ADP1 as your actual phone, you will need to switch to some other phone, at least for a while. And you have to find a buyer, deal with shipping, and all that hassle.

However, it is likely to be faster to make this change than wait for an ADP1 release that supports copy-protected apps.



  • Delta

    There is another option, load hacked tmobile firmware on your phone and you get access to both paid and copy protected apps and you get to keep root still, and be able to copy copyprotected apps off the phone still.

  • http://michang05.blogspot.com Mike

    That’s why i somehow can’t buy the ADP1 because of these problems, maybe ill wait for a better hardware or ADP2? which could be a full unlocked stuff for developers without any problems of any kind!

  • http://rapidpacket.com/~xtat/ Todd

    Your post seems to contradict itself; you say that the ADP1’s choice to not
    support copy-protected apps appears to be permanent, but then in the end
    you say “it is likely to be faster to make this change than wait for an ADP1
    release that supports copy-protected apps.”

    Could you please clarify?

    It is a shame that such copy protection measures have been deemed necesary;
    surely the protection will be broken. I think it will slow down more legitimate
    developers than pirates.

  • http://commonsware.com/Android/ Mark Murphy

    @Todd:

    Permanent usually means forever, and it hopefully will take someone slightly less than forever to sell an ADP1 and get a different Android device… ;-) Obviously, I need to be a bit more blatant in my feeble attempts at humor. Besides, even if Google/OHA change their minds and offer some means for ADP1 to access copy-protected apps, that update is probably a long ways away.

    I am in complete agreement with respect to DRM. The good news is that the Android Market gives you your choice (priced apps do not *have* to have copy protection enabled), and other markets will deal with the issue in their own ways.

  • http://rapidpacket.com/~xtat/ Todd

    Hey thanks for the clarification. I was linked to this page offsite and I
    didn’t realize this wasn’t an official android statement until now :)

  • http://www.marc-seeger.de Marc

    As previously mentioned, the thing about the ADP1 is that you can flash any firmware you like…
    There also is a ADP1.1 firmware available from e.g. the forums of xda-developers. Don’t know about the paid apps though as I’m from Germany and the market won’t show them to me anyways…

  • http://andappstore.com/ Al Sutton

    Any suggestions for UK G1 owners…. we have both of the problems Mark listed and don’t have the flexability of an ADP1.

    So if you have an ADP1 and thing you’re having a tough time, just remember there is someone you can look down on, point at, and give us the Nelson “Ha-Ha”..

  • http://slamgauge.com slamgauge

    The whole issue of google trying to curb piracy is silly. I have a rooted t-mobile g1 and I can pirate all the apps I would want. They should just do away with the 24hr return. No one else has such a policy. Crippling the dev phone is just a good way to make would be developers turn to the iPhone. Whatever happened to that whole “don’t be evil” thing google?

  • Dorian

    @Todd:

    Not only is it a shame that copy protection measures have been deemed necessary, but it will definitely drive (ADP1) people to piracy as well. This is gonna backfire for them, badly. There’s no way I will bow down and sell my ADP1 and get an ugly, branded, second hand G1 with no warranties just because of some futile attempt by Google to stop piracy.

    I want to support the whole Android platform and the software developers, but they’re making it hard for me to do so.

    Google is apparently forgetting that many developers are using the phone as both a developer device and as their regular phone as well. It’s unreasonable to ask of software developers to get one 400-600 buck ADP1 for software development and then one more (a G1) for regular use.

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