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.

There are 40 comments

rugbyua9 says:

Seems like AT&T doesn't care about the Android experience.

I.R.R.V. says:

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

ricbon says:

too funny

itch808 says:

....the Android phone is for porn....

UTnick says:

AT&T doesn't care about green people?

88 FLUX says:

Is anyone actually surprised?

dan1431 says:

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.


Chondog says:

Apple's "closed" philosphy has certainly rubbed off on AT&T.

Darkseider says:

FAIL! LOL! AT&T is showing there iLoyalty.

jmonte345 says:

Huge FAIL. So glad I jumped ship instead of waiting for AT&T to release their Android devices.

oversight says:

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.

:) Isn't being surprised about this like unto being surprised that water is wet?

eric.atx says:

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.

thenoan says:

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

Darkseider says:

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.

Awake says:

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.

taharka says:

Did you just bet a doughnut in response to an article about policing software? ROFL

potheadhero says:

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.

gbhil#AC says:

Link, or it didn't happen.

potheadhero says:

Here is one link

and here is another

Seems they probably tried to rush the EVO and now its falling apart. Sucks.

gbhil#AC says:

Link to the malicious apps than can brick your phone, not reviews from non android-centric sites.

potheadhero says:

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.

maerlim says:

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.

kgeissler says:

Wait till they find out how much crapware at&t puts on that phone. I am so glad I went with the N1.

Mikey47 says:

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?

spoken says:

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.

frozencloud says:'s crap like this that make me wonder why im still on AT&T.

moosc says:

Sorry no audible app no Swype no xm no beta testing really say day

hoosiercub says:

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"

icebike says:

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).

acstewart82 says:

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.

Spork1673 says:


meccariello says:

Non market apps are usuallyg geekware garbage anyways

jcrus says:

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

fastlerner says:

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?

fifolo says:

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.

d2globalinc says:

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..

8balls1970 says:

First the backflip now the aria. Steve j has tears of joy running down his face right now.Way to go AT&T!

psterrett says:

Bravo just rooted using SuperOneClick v.1.5.5 (v.1.6.3 kept hanging)

And away we go!