Android Central

The long awaited OS 2.0 update for the BlackBerry Playbook brought with it a whole host of opportunities for new apps. Now that repackaged Android applications are compatible with the PlayBook, and being accepted into BlackBerry App World, some well known names are starting to appear in the listings. 

One such name is Dolphin Browser HD. A highly respected Android replacement browser appearing on the BlackBerry Playbook. Impressive. Despite being a phone browser, Dolphin is absolutely superb on the PlayBook and many already prefer it to the stock browser. Quickly -- although not surprisingly -- it has become one of the top 25 free apps in the App World catalogue. 

Everything is rosy then yes? Well, no, not quite. The submission to App World wasn't made by MoboTap, the developers of Dolphin. The submission was made by Handster, a third party store owned by Opera. Someone else doing the work on the behalf of the developers -- a win surely? Turns out MoboTap were blissfully unaware that Handster had repackaged and submitted Dolphin to the App World for approval. Handster had already put out a statement prior to the OS 2.0 launch that they were to be uploading apps on behalf of developers. 

A spokesman for MoboTap told Engadget that; "We do not condone Handster submitting our Dolphin Browser app to BlackBerry's App World for us and are currently working to take it down and assure Handster will not submit our app for us again. We will assess developing for BlackBerry when the time is right."

Even though Dolphin is a free application in the Android Market, the question still remains over why Handster are submitting an application to BlackBerry App World without permission. A quick search finds a pretty big selection of apps that Handster have submitted -- albeit a lot of them aren't that good -- including paid applications. 

In any case, it seems that MoboTap are doing everything they can to remove Dolphin Browser HD from App World. Questions have been raised, but more importantly we're hoping that there aren't any Android developers being taken advantage of. 

Source: Engadget


Reader comments

Third-party store uploading Android apps to BlackBerry App World without developers permission?


Engadget seems to of have missed the fact that all developers were notified. They all got emails on their registered developer accounts stating their app would be submitted, but I guess MoboTap never read their email.

I don't disagree in any way. It doesn't make it right, but the base article from Engadget also isn't right. But I suppose that's the point, it's less of a story when the truth gets mentioned.

Open source is open source.

Remember Dolphin is nothing but a thin wrapper around the stock open source Webkit core browser.

I'm sure all the Dolphin fans will find this unpalatable, but Dolphin got where they did by feasting on Open Source. Turn about is fair play. They got forked. Happens. They have nothing to complain about.

open source does not mean the name is open source. Also Dolphin wrapper is not open source and that belongs to the dev as such they broke copyright law.

Taking open source stuff as your starting point is good because it speeds things up as you do not have to spend the time and money writing the core but instead do all the other stuff and wrap it up.

I'd be willing to guess that any email that went out probably read in a manner that alluded to Handster would repackage and submit apps upon request. But then chose some on their own after a lack of requests.

Yes it's speculation on my part, but I would doubt MoboTap simply didn't read it or chose to ignore it.

MoboTap didn't even read the original Handster agreement.

Handster is a WHITE LABEL app store --- which means that their WHOLE business model is to resell your submitted apps in a million different PRIVATE LABEL app stores.

MoboTap submitted their browser app to Handster and Handster resells that browser app in other private label app stores.

There is no need to ask permission in the first place.

When you submit your app to Handster, you let Handster resell your apps in other private label app stores.

This is like how app developers are crying foul about how they submit an app to Amazon app store --- get 20 paid downloads a day. Then Amazon makes it free app of the day and your app was downloaded 1 million times that day. Then the day after that, your app goes back to 20 paid downloads a day.

Read the terms and conditions of these app stores.

I also contacted the developer of ToDo Manager to see if he was going to submit the Pro Version too. He was also unaware.

Also taken from the CB forums:

"Say if the Playbook's android player doesn't support a feature (be it the camera, the gps, or whatever) and your android app requires this feature --- when the end user press the button to say take a picture, then of course your android app would hang or crash or whatever.

That's why RIM has supporting documentations to tell these android app developers to make their apps degrade gracefully when they repackage it to the Playbook. Take out the button for this feature x, or when the user press this button --- your app tells the end user that this feature is not available for this build.

The reason why there are tons of android apps on the Playbook app store --- from Handster (which was bought by Opera) and the original app developer doesn't know Handster submitted the apps for them without their knowledge --- is that these app developers never read the fine print of their agreement with Handster because their originial agreement with Handster allows Handster to do that. Of course, the bad side of this is that Handster doesn't have the source code, so they can't degrade your app gracefully for the Playbook version."

Now you don't want to believe everything you read on the CrackBerry forums, but it is food for thought.

It's a shambles really. And I own a PlayBook. I would sell it if RIM hadn't slashed the prices.

Handster is NOT an app developer --- go to Handster's website and they will tell you that they are a WHITE LABEL app store. What is WHITE LABEL? Getting a Sears Kenmore fridge that is actually made by Whirlpool.

Handster is an independent app store that was bought by Opera last year. So you made a fart app on the Android platform --- you submit it to Android Market, Amazon app store and Handster app store.

The FINE print in the Handster app store agreement --- allows Handster to sell your apps in other white label app stores. That's why many android developers don't even know that their apps were repackaged by Handster and appear on the Playbook app store.