AT&T Aria appsApps on the Nexus One
(AT&T Aria, left, and the Nexus One)

Here we go again, folks. The HTC Aria -- AT&T's second and arguably best foray into Android -- is limited to only loading applications from the Android Market. As you can see in the screen shot above, the choice to load apps from "non-Market" sources is missing, meaning you won't be sideloading from other websites or -- once Android 2.2 is released -- directly from e-mail, which is very cool.

And this isn't the first time we've seen this. As you'll well remember, the Motorola Backflip is hobbled in the same way -- it's a limitation inflicted by AT&T and is not inherent to the phone itself. We still don't like calling the phone crippled (OK, I don't like calling it crippled, others disagree) because of this, as the rest of it works just fine. But we will say the following:

AT&T: Stop doing this. It's bad for the ecosystem. And bad for developers. And bad for your customers. And it ultimately makes it look like you don't care about Android.

More on the Aria coming up, folks.

 

Reader comments

AT&T locks its latest Android phone -- the Aria -- out of sideloading apps, too

40 Comments

why would ATT care about android? They are to busy giving S.J. his required B.J. To keep him happy.......

at&t is treating Android like iOS, you cannot sideload (at least officially) on iOS and at&t is ensuring that you cannot sideload on Android either.

I am not sure the reason, maybe it is to put both devices on a level playing field, maybe it is some sort of internal belief (security policy) that non-Market applications are dangerous (or at least make support of the device harder?)

I have no idea, it just seems from a consumer perspective to be in poor taste.

Dan

Not surprising. NO, ATT doesn't care about it's customers, nor does it really care about Android. It's offering lip service to the platform, while in turn making it deliberately less attractive than it's current bread and butter, and monument to Uncle Stevie's ego, the Almighty Jesus Phone.

Welcome to the dark side Phil. We have cookies! Seriously I am glad you see it our way. They are crippled. I think, like others, that its done because of iPhone and Steve Jobs.

the average joe wont care or even know that there is a huge dev community. avg joe probably wont even know what version of the droid os is on his phone. its still a shitty move on the part of att for those of us that do care about these sort of things

It doesn't matter if the average Joe knows this or not or for that matter even cares. What AT&T is doing to its' Android handsets is ridiculous.

I guess the average Joe will not want to put their own music, videos, ringtones, pictures, etc, on their Android phone either, huh? I will bet anyone a doughnut, this is directly linked to Apple.

I wouldnt consider it crippled. I recently found out that non market apps can be malicious and totally brick your phone so its not necessarily a bad thing. Anyways chances are the phone will be rooted as soon as it comes out and then everyone is happy. I think everyone just wants to hate on AT&T because they are late to the Android game. I am just being patient and waiting for a better phone and I am avoiding any HTC phones since they all seem to be having hardware problems recently.

It wont let me link the article because it sets off the spam filter. The article is on the Androidguys website. Its called Android’s Malware Potential.

This doesn't really bother me. If I really want to install a non-market app, I'll just use the SDK to install it.

Doesn't anyone else find it strange that AT&T does this with Android devices, yet they allow it on their webOS device (the Pre+)?

What gives?

I'm a bit of an android noob, but for example I know you can't get the sirius/XM app through market, I had to install it through their site. I bet some of those ave joes will notice.

Its funny that even Verizon is slowly becoming less controlling and very open with their devices especially the Androids.. and now AT&T is falling into the iMentality

I find it funny that Phil is the one that wrote this article.
Mr. "Stop calling phones crippled just because they don't do what you want"

A friend of mine, after seeing my N1 went to their local AT&T store (in a different state) and asked why AT&T only carried cheesy android phones and nothing like the Nexus One.

Since the branch manager was a friend of hers, she got told two things:

1) AT&T still does not want to piss off Steve Jobs very much, and only feels they can make small token moves into Android space. Since Apple is suing HTC (and everybody else) they have to tread very carefully.

2) they won't sell a phone that is unlocked, and Google would never let them lock the Nexus One. So they would have to contract for a custom phone so they could lock it to their network.

3) they won't carry any phone that competes feature for feature with iPhone due to some handshake agreement or unwritten understanding. iPhone will always have pride of place as long as At&T has exclusivity.

She said the Branch Manager guy indicated there was no Android paranoia at any level of AT&T that he deals with, and HTC phones cause less havoc on their network than iPhones, but it was strictly an issue of AT&T knowing on which side their bread is buttered. (money).

AT&T doesn't care about Android they merely add them to save face. Heaven forbid they take any attention away from their precious iPhone. AT&T get a clue really. Android is the future and there is no stopping it. Don't stand on the tracks while the train is coming through.

Except for apps like the Sirius|XM app, which is only available via the website and not the marketplace (bust on SXM though). So if you want satellite radio (via data connection) on your phone, you're out of luck on AT&T

Knowing AT&T, they'll probably have their own flavor of the XM Radio app that they charge you a fee to use. If I remember right, isn't that what they did when the WM devices like the Treo750 came out?

I made up my mind to drop AT&T after what they did to the backflip.
On the 4th of this month, I got my Evo. Good riddance to this loser of a network.

Why would anyone use Cingular, I mean AT&T :S - they really don't want customers anymore... I'm going to lmao when the iphone is available someplace else, and see how fast this crap stops and they start begging people to come back.. Worthless provider.. Now...If your looking to buy android, seriously - WHY at&t? :S joke..