AT&T Explains Why they Opt for Android Market Only


We’re not sure how long AT&T has been offering their dedicated Android landing page, but it’s new to us.  The carrier has created a min-site designed to not only pimp their handsets, but also to explain what Android is and why it’s just so awesome.  A cursory glance shows existing phones (Motorola Backflip, HTC Aria), forthcoming devices (Dell Aero), and a FAQ list to answer your burning Android questions.  Of particular note is the second question: Why can’t apps be installed from sources outside of the Android Market?

Surprisingly, the answer AT&T gives doesn’t actually come across as a bunch of hooey.  The short version is that they want to hold developers accountable for their apps and they trust the community at large.

…AT&T selected Android Market as the exclusive source for applications because it forces developers to be accountable for the apps they submit. If the Android community has issues with an app, the app can be flagged and removed. This minimizes the risk of malicious apps harming customers and provides more protection to the customer’s private data stored on the phone.

Okay, we’ll buy that.  But we still don’t 100% like it.

Thanks for the tip, Jeremy!


    • Well, to be perfectly frank, users are idiots. The real issue is about taking away freedom and functionality that the rest of the android community enjoys in favor of protecting idiots from installing "bad stuff" on their phones.

  1. In other words…" We don't want to take a chance of someone stumbling upon a tethering app because our network is all messed up without it."

  2. Translation: "Mr. Jobs said we could sell a few mid-range crippled Android phones, so that's what you get. Be glad our Gawd has allowed you this indulgence, shut up, and ax no more questions."

    • That won't be lasting too much longer … Samsung's Galaxy S is no mid-range phone. Crippled by this app restriction, perhaps, but it's no slouch.

  3. So how can a developer test features of the phone not in the emulator? Are they expected to publish it to the market repeatedly as they're developing?

  4. Most of you appear to be AT&T haters which is cool, they are my carrier. What is seems to boil down to is not whether or not users are idiots but whether or not the developers are honest. There is not a one of you that has commented negatively thus far that has not been a victim of some sort of PC OS malware that you inadvertently installed (it's alright if you are to ashamed to admit it or too young to have been in the thick of the Win OS attacks of yore.)

    Not all developers can be trusted with their apps even the ones approved by the Android app store. If you believe this then you are naive. Time to stop hating and start realizing that there are no pop-up, malware, or antivirus blockers for the mobile environment.

    Long story short, if you don't like At&T's path don't buy their phone or use them as a carrier. My phone currently is a 3GS with a iP4 on order and the I'll buy the captivate when it comes out.

    And remember, there's an underground for everything.

    • AT&T is also my carrier, but I'm not an idiot. Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and every other carrier around the world that has Android phones, don't seem to be having a problem with malicious apps. If people choose the option to download from outside the Android Market, a warning pops up notifying them that they are downloading from "Unknown Sources". That seems to be enough for everyone except AT&T.

      You can't denounce legitimate complaints as hating.

      • How do you know there are not any malicious apps? How do users know that their data is not being collected by downloaded apps? Downloading outside the Android market pops up a warning, hmmm, so does windows when something is not "certified." At that point most people nowadays say "whatever" and click through anyhow thinking nothing will happen, or "oh, it an be fixed." Personal data cannot be fixed.

        And by the way, any complaint can be deemed legitimate it just depends on your definition.

        Maybe AT&T is doing the right thing, maybe not but in the end all devices can be hacked thus defeating the entire argument of "it's BS."

      • You're^^. how ironic to say someone is wrong while spelling "you're wrong" incorrectly. Anyway yes there are security apps for android.

    • Well some security firms scanned the Android Market itself and found many apps that could compromise your personal information. Google currently doesn't do a very good job of policing it's own market. IF they did, this decision would be more sensible.

      • And those "apps that could compromise your personal information" was just apps that required READ_CONTACTS permission. That's like calling "potential DDoS tool" every app that asks for INTERNET permission.

  5. Really? That's why Android phones ship with the "unknown sources" option disabled?

    So they think an unsuspecting, idiot user is going to enable this buried option and go to a website to download an app that does what? Doesn't work? Makes their phone explode? Are they implying that they'll provide customer support for third party apps I download from the Market?

    AT&T's whole statement is b.s.. They're restricting the phone at the owner's expense, all the while claiming they're doing it all for the user. It's a lie.

  6. Meh, to appeal the broadest group of folks who may not take care where they're getting their apps from, I think it probably makes sense to force them to through the market. Now, let's dump the ATT/Yahoo bloatware (or at least make it so I can unintsall it or something).

    As for the Market: Can Google at the very least PLEASE get rid of the spam in the Market? Every other comment for an app: "Hey guys, I get my apps from <blah>".

  7. This author is really naive. You have to explicitly set the permissions on the phone to install apps from outside of the app store. If you are sophisticated enough to find the setting, you are sophisticated enough to understand the risks. There are lots of good reasons to want to install apps from outside the app store:

    – Try out beta software
    – Run software written by a friend
    – Run your company's proprietary software
    – Try your hand at writing Android software

    Quite aside from these reasons, there may be many more that neither I nor AT&T has thought of yet.

    • AT&T disabled that feature on their phones. No matter how “sophisticated” you are, you will never find that feature. Seems that you are naive as well.

  8. Can't sideload apps, mmm ok I can understand that. BUT let me have the ability to remove this AT&T software CRAP software

  9. You guys are all a bunch of wining bitches…stop complaining because you used technology the wrong way! There are user agreements for a reason, warnings for a reason…people have always and will always use technology for moral and immoral reasons. I also missed the part where AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon held a gun to your head and told you to download the app(s) that stole your information…so how can this be their fault??? This is classic case of “I F***ed up, so blame it on the next person”, take responsibility for your own actions and chalk it up to, YOU SCREWED UP and no one else!!! I would hate to see any of you guys lose a fight, it would probably be because the company who manufactured your clothes you were wearing that day used polyester instead of cotton and you got too sweaty to win, and then you would do what you do best and jump online to cry like a bitch about it…use the web for informative reasons, stop bashing everyone else…better yet, if you can do a better job than Sprint, AT&T, TMobile and Verizon, why don’t you make a freakin network and put out the most reliable technology known to man??? What’s that? You can’t do that? Why not??? BECAUSE EVERYBODY DROPS THE BALL SOME POINT IN TIME YOU IDIOTS!!!

  10. Jesus! There taking control away from the user. I paid alot of money for this phone, its my choice.