Why you shouldn't download paid Android apps for free

We're not your mom, and we're not going to get into the middle of a morals debate on software piracy and if it's really stealing. But we can give you a couple of really good reasons not to download a pirated copy of a paid app.

It's a good way to get malware


Yup. Malware. Most of what you hear about malware on Android phones is sensationalism designed to make you click a link. Much of it is proof-of-concept work that never will see the wild. Finding an exploit and distributing that exploit are two very different things. But it does happen, and almost all of it happens to people who download apps that didn't come from Google Play.

Taking an Android app and opening it up so you can edit things — like removing a license check — is simple and the tools are readily available. So are countless tutorials about using those tools. That makes it easy for almost anyone to drop other code into an app. But almost anything you could do to an app will make Google Play's Bouncer — an automated tool that checks the integrity of every app in Google Play and can tell if bad things are inside — trigger and block the app so nobody can see it or download it. That's what keeps Google Play the safest place to get Android apps.

Google's Bouncer will keep you safe almost all the time. Is "almost" good enough for you?

Bouncer will also scan apps on your phone you didn't download from Google Play if you let it — you'll see it ask you the first time you sideload something. This keeps almost all the malware you read about in check and away from your phone. But the whole thing is a game of cat and mouse between Bouncer and some really smart people who want to do things they shouldn't be doing to your phone. All these people need is for you to download the altered apps and the easiest way to do it is to entice you with something you can't have or something that you're getting for free instead of paying 99-cents for. Everyone likes free stuff.

Smart people at Google are at war with smart people who want to put malware on your phone and neither side can ever win.

When Google picks up on one way of doing things, those bad people start using another. It almost sounds like a James Bond villain at work, but when you consider that about a gazillion people downloaded pirated software last year (and will this year) it's not hard to see why this can be lucrative for the right ones.

There's one easy way to keep your phone from being part of some malware statistic you hear about online — download your apps from Google Play. If you're supposed to pay for an app or a chest of 100 gold coins, pay for them. Chances are that the 99-cents you're paying are a lot less than your bill would be with midnight text messages to a country you've never been to and don't know anyone in.

App piracy on Android has real-life repercussions

Run run Mario!

App piracy makes baby Mario cry and Nintendo publish for the iPhone first.

Deserving or not, the Android platform and its users has a bad reputation with many developers and software publishers. Take Nintendo, which has this to say about Super Mario Run:

For us, we view our software as being a very important asset for us. And also for consumers who are purchasing the game, we want to make sure that we're able to offer it to them in a way that the software is secure, and that they're able to play it in a stable environment.We wanted to be able to leverage that network connection with all three of the Super Mario Run modes to keep all of the modes functioning together and offering the game in a way that keeps the software secure. This is something that we want to continue to work on as we continue to develop the game.But actually, the security element is one of the reasons that we decided to go with iPhone and iOS first. So this is just — based on the current development environment — a requirement that's been built into the game to support security and the fact that the three different modes are connecting to the network and interacting with one another.

The emphasis there (in bold) is mine.

In that slew of words, one of the things they are saying is that iOS is safer for them because on Android their game would be yanked off of phones that can use it and passed around to everyone with Nintendo having no say in its distribution. And they are 100% correct. It's getting passed around on iPhones, too, but it's not nearly as easy to do on iOS so the piracy numbers are tiny compared to what will happen when they release it for Android. They know this, I know this, and you know this. Any software that arrives or update that comes is available to everyone about an hour after it's been released. Even if it's free software, that's piracy. And it doesn't matter that most people aren't doing it because millions and millions of people are.

Developers fight piracy on all platforms, but some make it easier to do than others.

This isn't a new thing. A long time ago it was hard to find an Android device that could install Netflix unless you pirated it. A casual conversation with a developer on the project told me why — because the same day they released a Netflix app for Android as a test with known hardware, the app was available for everyone to sideload. That wrecked their methods of testing for best performance and soured them on the entire platform. Spending a lot of time and money then seeing it all go to crap because we had to have something right now and had the means to pirate it can do that. Those developers didn't blame you if you pirated Netflix. They blamed Google for not caring and giving them tools to protect their "property" like Apple does and locking Android down.

Every time you pirate a paid app, you make this problem worse. You don't have to care, you won't ever get into trouble and you can get in the comments of this post and act all indignant about it. That doesn't change anything.

One person can't change a statistic but we all can still do our part to fix a serious problem for Android app developers: Piracy.

If you're ever in a room full of mobile app developers, ask them. Find out how much money they make from their Android apps and if piracy is a problem. They'll tell you. And most of them would also tell you they wish Android was more locked up like iOS because of it. Since that probably isn't going to happen in any meaningful way, they will just stay discouraged. They aren't as discouraged with piracy on iOS and can make more money coding apps for iOS. You do the math there and figure out what that means when it's time to build the next great app.

You and me not pirating one app isn't going to change anything. But it means we're not part of the problem. The same thing goes if 10,000 of us stop doing it or 100,000 of us. There are a lot of Android users. But it has to start somewhere, right?

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • We already get so much free... why be a thief? There should be malware written in by devs that can activate if it's been pirated.
  • That's not going to solve the problem by a long shot. In addition to ruining android as a platform app hackers have been stripping drm like that for decades.
  • Who said that I listed the only solution?
  • Who said that you did?
  • And they'll strip it out, like the DRM. Not every solution to a problem needs to be a technological one.
  • Maybe some try before you buy concept would help ease the piracy a bit. There is nothing worse than spending your money on an app or game that just sucks ass. As others have mentioned in the comments .....Google Opinion Rewards. Don't have to pirate.
  • You can sort of already do this. Google gives you a couple hours to use the app or game with the ability to refund. I've done this many times with apps and games that sucked.
  • Great idea, that would work well for me. Buying something and then finding it useless, or even worse, MISREPRESENTED, is epidemic on Android.
  • The same people who think they have some sort of entitlement to free music or movies rather than paying the producers
  • You know what happens when you press play on a BluRay that you purchased legally? First you're threatened with legal action by a few scary FBI and other warning slides. Once you wait for that to pass you get to see some commercials that can't be skipped. After that some previews, also unskippable. Once you're done with that bullshit you get a menu screen, and another button press. Twenty minutes after you initially put in your legally purchased movie, the movie starts You know what happens when you press play on a pirated movie? The movie starts. People don't pirate because they feel entitled. People pirate because it's an objectively better experience than going about things the legal way.
  • HIt the spot dead on and they wonder why people rip disks, or worse pirate them. I have no pity for these cretins. I bought it, I'll decide and hate the endless ads and threats when I shove a disk I bought into a player. Well said.
  • Really? Nice justification to steal property. When you buy a movie you are purchasing a production. Quit Hollywood altogether and you won't be forced to view ads, oh the horror, and stay honest at the same time
  • I most probably own more movies than the average person. I do rip them, and why? Because of what I stated above. Because I'm a captive audience the producer believes that I shouldn't be allowed to skip through ads or previews and prevents it with software? Why do you defend their theft and condemn mine? At least I bought the product I brought home and I have every right to rip it, I bought it. The law, is their favour. Why? Because they lobbied and bought the law, not because they are more moral. If you want to sit through 15 minutes of slush, go ahead. I wont.
  • You have the legal right to rip the films you buy from the Blu-Ray. You don't have the legal right to distribute that rip.
    So if anyone ever tells you you're not entitled to rip a CD or film you legally bought, tell them to p*ss off.
  • +1
  • There's a huge difference between DVDs/Blueray discs and mobile games/apps. Not once have I seen an FBI warning/commercial/preview before a game starts.
  • Which means it's not illegal to pirate then.
  • I got on the blu ray train a few months ago only to find this disgusting... 'situation' with insulting rubbish appearing before the movie I paid for, on about half the discs I watched, so I gave the player and discs away. Blu Ray - never again. Someone hit me up when I can pay for a digital download copy of films with no trash on it. It's 2016, and those who are entrusted with positions to do the right thing, and choose not to (by vandalizing blu rays), will be instantly dismissed, ignored and bypassed- it's not about entitlement, it's about individual performances as human beings- those who do not meet performance standards are the problem. The world waits no longer.
  • Not allowing users to skip ads or previews is the worst. One thing VHS did better than discs.
  • @Brian2014 Not really. Devs that make apps rarely make any good money out of it, so every app that's paid for counts and helps to put food on their table. Movies and music aren't in the same league. If Tom Cruise gets a little less money because I watched a pirated copy of his latest movie, I don't think he or I would lose any sleep over it - he certainly isn't going to starve because of it. And if I download a pirated copy of Coldplays latest album, likewise, they're not going to be struggling to keep their homes or feed their kids because they lost out on some sales. Pirating movies is wrong. Pirating music is wrong. Pirating games is wrong. But to compare the smartphone apps market to the music and film industries is silly. They're very different kettles of fish.
  • Couldn't agree more, I pay for all my movie.. And as Google can see I spend a lot on google play.. Ive been bitten hard by dodgy apps to which I paid a fair a. Out for.. And no. You do not always the option of refund on some apps.. Also some app that are paid for do have mailware.. Anyways that's my two cents.. Sorry for going off topic guys..
  • Don't even dare to compare app devs with gigantic corporations. When Sony releases a piece of sh*t like the "rebooted" Ghostbusters film and you pay for it, the bulk of the money does NOT go to the people who actually made the film, it goes to Sony.
    When you buy an app, the bulk of the money goes directly to the developer.
  • Copyright infringement is nothing like theft. In terms of accuracy you may as well call it rape or genocide.
  • I call BS. Copyright infringement is very much stealing. Theft of someone's intellectual property is a big deal. It probably costs U.S. companies and individuals (artists, authors, musicians, etc.) billions of dollars a year.
  • Look up theft in a dictionary, or a law book. Theft involves a person not having a possession they previously owned. No one loses a possession in copyright infringement.
  • I was going to comment on the point you're trying to make, but this page says it better than I could: http://www.copyhype.com/2010/09/is-copyright-infringement-theft/ "It’s technically correct that “copyright infringement” and “theft” have distinct legal meanings, but so what? The idea that the legal distinction between the two terms forecloses any colloquial comparison is invalid." "Creators often use words like “theft” to reflect how they feel about acts of infringement. Shifting the focus from the colloquial meaning of the word to the legal meaning accomplishes little more than arguing for the sake of argument, while misusing language from case law only forecloses a fuller understanding of the law."
  • The fact that legally theft and copyright infringement are not the same it doesn't make the later legal. You also have two legal definitions for theft: one for when the act involves violence and another for when it doesn't. So don't even try to go there, mate. It'll lead you to an endless legal argument you won't win ;)
  • I was only pointing out that using the word theft is Hyperbole. Copyright infringement is a victimless "crime", no one loses the right to own an enjoy an object. That's all. It's fascinating how partisan posters here tend to be. Note7 owners are morons and idiots, to be despised as though they were sexual offenders. It's all rather like spectrum vs. C64, or ST vs. Amiga, all over again.
  • I think you owe sex offenders an apology!
  • In the UK at least there is only one legal definition of theft. Basic definition of theft. (1)A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly.
  • Uhm... Bit overly dramatic aren't we? It's just a movie, game or song. Geez people.
  • There's always one...
  • To you, for others it's their income. I could take your pay check and say it's just money.
  • Then they should charge less for stuff and people wouldn't try to find work arounds. My comments are pretty generic and not pointed at Google Play Store, but rather more at media in general. I also use Google Rewards app for purchases. I'm just not happy that we have to pay for things on mobile devices at all.
  • Really? Because 99 cents is so much money.
  • Also do you use the same logic for other things? They charge too much for cars so I will just take one.
  • No. I use this logic only for smart devices.
  • I'm not exactly sure where I said that I infringe copyrights. Despite, it would appear, being far more familiar with the legal ramifications of getting out the tape to tape amstrad stereo and knocking out a copy of 'jet set willy' than the posters here, it's not a thing I regularly do.
    When I have done such a thing it is on account of convenience, as someone else has pointed out, it is often far more convenient to use copied media. For instance having all my wii games on a HD in my pc, and having my wii connected to my pc so I never had to look for discs. Or 'chipping' my xbox 360 so I could run backup copies of games I already owned, to keep my originals safe. The industry has done remarkably stupid things (anyone remember the 'lens-lok' anti copying system that was used on the spectrum version of elite?) yet complained like mad when people, not unnaturally, circumvented such irritants. (my method was use a device to interrupt the game just after the lens-lok business then save it to a microdrive).
  • just don't fall for this one
  • People like you are irritatingly annoying.
  • People like me? Please elaborate.
  • I've gotten a total of about $60 from Google Opinion Rewards, to spend in the Play store. That's paid for all the apps I use, that have a paid option. It's a nice ecosystem; Google gets info, I get apps, developers get to eat, which provides an incentive for more / better apps. It's a win all around.
  • Yea and that would be cool and all if Google Opinion worked all around the world. Sadly it does not
  • Is it really necessary to put a disclaimer on every comment? "It works in multiple countries. If your country is supported, then the comment applies to you."
  • Same here. Can't remember last time I used my actual money. I've been using opinion rewards for so long.
  • Agreed! The Rewards thing is great. I had a few apps that offer a free and paid version. After I accumulated enough in Rewards, I deleted the free version and installed the paid version. I haven't actually "paid" for an app in a couple years, only using my Rewards bank to pay for the apps. To date, I've accumulated $112, and I have over $10 to spend in my bank at the moment. I just don't have anything I want to spend it on right now. I do wish I could send someone some Play credit using my Rewards earnings though. That's my ONLY complaint about it.
  • Typical, money doesn't grow on trees, so where do you think the money ultimately comes from? Selling your info maybe?
    I imagine this is what serfs in the middle ages said to their buddies, hey this farming stuff is great even though they don't own the land, or crops, or anything really.
  • I'm not the CEO of a company, so you now have the same valuable information I last gave to Google. The questions that the rewards app asks aren't exactly invasive.
  • Exactly. It just uses your location history to give you surveys about stores you have visited recently. It's not any more invasive than filling out a survey that is printed on your receipt. Also, if you're worried about Google having your location history than you probably shouldn't be using ANY Google services.
  • I love Google opinion rewards. I always use the paid version of an app if available, and I don't remember the last time I had to pay out of pocket. I've earned a total of $66.34 using Rewards.
  • You could play real Mario and other Nintendo classes or any classics by buying a emulator from the play store and downloading REAL games. Js
  • Your solution to piracy is more piracy? right on
  • Ikr? What an idiot... Although I am guilty of emulation. But I only emulate games I already own... I just do it for the 1080p goodness of Dolphin's emulation.
  • I've only downloaded reteo games that are in impossible to buy for because those​ games aren't available anymore. AC has posted something like this before with VR games so... You can now enjoy Nintendo Virtual Boy games on Google Cardboard https://www.androidcentral.com/unofficial-virtual-boy-lets-you-enjoy-cla...
  • Wow... just wow... You're just proving Nintendo right.
  • Speaking of paid apps, can you guys make a pay version of the Android Central app (without the new ads)?
  • Unfortunately they need constant revenue. Not a one shot deal. Ads keep them afloat.
  • Understandable. Perhaps a 30-day ad-free model or something similar could work, though.
  • You're right. Subscription service could work. 2.99/yr or something. I'd pay it, they do good work and the ads muddy up the site. I can't go to it anymore. I'm on the app only.
  • That's why I'm really hoping what Contributor gets replaced with works on apps with AdSense, too. Also, that Contributor get replaced and not just cancelled.
  • Any particular reason you couldn't create a 1 year paid license?
  • Yeah it must be loads better having lots of people uninstall the app because of intrusive, annoying, data using adverts.
  • Lol I'm reasonably certain I would uninstall if it became paid.
  • To be clear, I was asking for a paid AC app in addition to the free app with ads.
  • Mobile users (and especially Android users) have always amazed me. They'll spend hundreds and hundreds on a phone. They'll spend countless hours tweaking and customizing and posting their home screen setup to various sites so they can show it off, but when it comes to spending a buck or two for an actual program to make it run smooth, it's just too much money to spend. I agree with MaceMoneta above, I've earned $50+ dollars on Google Rewards and haven't had to buy an app in quite some time. That being said, I was buying my apps even before that, just because I hate ads and want dev's to contribute to the Android ecosystem. Sadly, however,I have to disagree with the author. I think Google will eventually lock things down in a similar way to Apple because of the piracy. Too many users continue to show they aren't going to act appropriately, and it drags the entire platform down.
  • Well said. Also, paid apps save battery life (collectively) because no ads pinging home.
  • I agree. In the long-run most games and apps cannot make money at $0.99 - $2.99 each. Some of the mobile games take just as much time and effort to develop as a $50 platform or PC game. It kills me when people whine that a game isn't free or that "I wouldn't pay more than $0.99 for that". Devs will stop trying to create quality mobile games if there's no profit in it. I have no problem paying $10 or more for a great mobile game, especially if it's IAP free.
  • VR games have been more like $6-$14. And worth it in many cases!
  • Well now that's the entire point isn't it? I just spent $800 on a new phone, why should I have to spend even more for stuff for it? All mobile apps should be free after that initial lay out of funds to purchase such an expensive device. End of story.
  • So, if you paid $1,000,000 for a house, you believe it should come fully furnished, or that you shouldn't have to pay to furnish it? Wow.
  • That's an expensive house. It should come fully furnished, for sure.
  • This is hardly "End of story". The money you spent on the phone does not pay anyone to develop an app for that device. Your reasoning is that because you gave money to Samsung (for instance) then someone else should work for free to make an app for you to use. This is absurd. You are using faulty logic to justify your sense of entitlement.
  • ******* hell. What is wrong with you people. His post was positively oozing irony. Yet you swallowed it. Are you Americans?
  • How about, it ***** devs out of income???
  • Yes, but whiny entitled westerners who get paid well for their jobs think all apps should be 99 cents or free or it's not fair. Oh and I'm one of those entitled westerners, I'm just ok with paying fair value for a good product or service.
  • I pay for everything. I have about 50 movies in my play library. I've bought almost all the daydream games. I've spent more than I'd like to admit I'm hearthstone.
  • The beauty of choice and freedom :)
  • But what if you can find the free version on F-Droid?
  • Things on F-Droid are open source programs. You never have to pay for those if you don't want to. It's in the licences.
  • I use Google Opinion Rewards to earn a little bit here and there and that gets spent on apps and songs in the Play store.
  • I always buy my apps if it's good enough. Support the developers. Don't be a filthy pirate.
  • Might have to adjust that title... there are LEGITIMATE sites (Amazon? :P) that offer 'paid' apps for free, and that doesn't mean that they're pirating them.
  • Thanks Jerry for writing this. Devs deserve money for good apps, period. They are usually such a relatively small amount to buy anyway. I totally agree with this article, well said.
  • I don't disagree with the points made, but this article is more or less re-hashed every week by [insert a site name] and has been for about 10 years now. It isn't changing anyone's mind. It's preaching to the choir as only people who will care to read it and take it seriously are the folks paying for apps. It's a harsh take as it is your job, I know, but real change doesn't happen through hashtags and internet articles.
  • I agree. I wish people wouldn't pirate paid apps. It makes the developers not want to develop for Android, and those developers deserve to be paid for what they do. I'll always use the paid version of an app if available. That being said, I can't stand those games with IAP that you basically need to shell over your paycheck to advance in any meaningful way. I never go near those games.
  • I agree. I don't mind IAP that help you speed up your progress or to get game expansions, but I hate games that are pretty much impossible without IAPs. Just give me the option to pay $5 or $10 one time for the upgrades and be done with it.
  • I totally agree on this. I buy all my apps and even spend quite a buck on IAP's (looking at you Marvels PuzzleQuest). But when a game is unplayable without spending a small fortune, I am done with it. Apps (or games) like that are removed, even if I liked them. But I can see why someone would look for a pirated version of that game that has unlimited power ups.
  • I don't think the people who download paid apps for free would be deterred by the two reasons you listed. They know the risk of malware and I'm not sure they care about the Android platform as a whole.
  • I pay for my apps. Most apps are what ... $0.99? Sometimes 2,3,4 bucks? I pay more for a damn energy drink sometimes than I would for an app I use a ton. I personally go for supporting the devs so they make the app even better with constant updates and so they get paid for their work :).
  • Exactly how I feel as well!
  • For me, the malware side of it isn't even a consideration.
    Any app I use is the paid version if there is one available (for play store or IAP).
    There are 2 reasons I pay for them.
    1. I hate adverts and I am willing to pay to get rid of them.
    2. If I think an app is good I prefer to pay to support developers and development.
    There are downsides of course, I've lost count of the apps I've paid for only for the Dev to abandon it (News+) or change it beyond recognition (News Republic), leaving me with an unfinished, buggy or ruined app.
    But the price of androids apps is relatively low at least. One of the most pirated things on android is games.
    Mobile games are reaching console quality and people are willing to pay £50+ for a PS4 game but not £2.49 for an android game... But each to their own. Some will do anything to avoid paying for anything then complain about how bad their phone is running when they ick up malware.
  • I would rather pay for an app if I find it useful, than have ads, now that being said depends on the app, at least give the option for people as some people are cool with ads and some are not. But pirating a 1 dollar app is not encouraging the developer to make the app better or support it.
  • I've worked in the music industry and people complained about music being downloaded illegally. The answer I gave them was that it's their fault. Human beings will not pay for something they can get free. It's your job to find a way. Music did, with streaming services that people are happy to pay 10$/month for. Devs can do the same. A monthly subscription could be the answer. A "pay what you want" like Humble bundle could be the answer. No one is trying anything different aside from complaining.
  • I thought the whole point was they are trying something different, iOS first/exclusively.
  • The best reason to pay for apps is that developers need that money to feed their children. Don't be an ass, do not starve toddlers.
  • One of my good friends is a dev for Warbits on iOS. Piracy is the sole reason he'll never come to Android.
  • Buys $1000 phone
    Agonizes over $1.99 app
    Decides to pirate app
    Also decides to buy $3 TPU case Humans are strange
  • You're the one that is strange. People pay for what they value and what they think gets the job done. Just because you bought an expensive phone that doesn't mean you buy an expensive case. That's the mindset of someone who sees something expensive and buys it anyway just because you 'save 50%' or something. Or someone who goes to an expensive hotel and pays for the needlessly expensive food there that they wouldn't normally buy, just because they're in an expensive hotel. It's completely irrational and doesn't make economic sense.
  • Agree with you. He probably knows one person who did that.
  • Thanks Jerry for another great informative article. I buy apps to support the devs. And, I like the idea of a paid subscription for AC because I hate the ads.
  • I blame the Vikings.
  • I don't take chances.
  • I think Google will eventually have to block sideloading. I just don't see another effective way around this problem...
  • Which will also kill off the Amazon app store.
  • They just need to find some way to have an online verification the first time you install a paid app. This needs to be standard, some apps do it already but google needs to support it. I don't think anything can reasonably be done about cracked apps though. But the thing about cracked apps it that they need root as far as I know, and if you limit the pirates to rooted phones then it's already the same as ios I think.
  • Google already knows if you side loaded an app. When you view the Google Play store page of an app that was side loaded, reviews cannot be left. The same applies to paid apps, presumably.
  • It's a false dilemma. If sideloading were disallowed, you wouldn't have the basic freedom to run your own software on your own device. If we wanted our user freedoms taken away, we would go to iPhone. The "problem" of piracy goes away when Google stops promoting proprietary software. There is no piracy without proprietary software. Piracy can only exist while software takes away a user's freedom to compute.
  • Nintendo's point is moot though, piracy is just as much of an issue on iOS as it is Android, it is just Apple spends a lot of money to suppress reports on it. Hell you don't even need to be jailbroken you can just find the IPAs somewhere and sideload them with iFunbox, or if you're jailbroken there used to be Installous from Cydia.
  • I don't think it's that easy on unjailbroken devices. Doesn't the app have to signed? Sometimes I sideload "unofficial" apps like Kodi, f.lux and iTransmission using enterprise certificates, but they are always getting revoked.
  • Nope, you can sideload IPAs just fine on iOS as long as they're pirated versions of paid apps as they are signed.
  • I think that used to work previously, but not right now. You can donwload signed pirated apps, but those are apps that have been REsigned by someone else (not the original developer), and Apple can revoke the certificate at anytime. You can resign them using your own Apple ID, but that only lasts for 7 days.
  • I made an app from scratch, it took me months to build. Mainly because i was still a beginner and it was my first real app after a few 'test' apps. I ended up releasing it and now charge a few £ for it. People like it, it's popular for its niche (coffee brewing) but for the time I've spent on it, and it being on tons of pirate sites, it works out to being paid far less than an unskilled first job. Luckily I didn't do it for the money really (every Dev secretly hopes their app magically takes off and goes mental but few sane devs expect it), it makes it more motivating and fun when i get sales though, and i wish i could continue to develop it and make more apps but the 'work to profit' ratio is way out of whack especially for the required skillset which you need to be on top of as the platform constantly matures. Basically, It's just not commercially viable so will have to just be a hobby i dip in to every now and then which is a shame as i love the challenge and problem solving. Then there's the occasional reviews stating that it's expensive and they want a bunch of features that would take months to build. For £2.50, less than they might spend on parking for 20 minutes, they get a specialist niche app from a single developer. It makes my mind 🎆 but i do get it, i just can't be doing it. :)
  • I pirated a lot of stuff in my late teens, than I actually learned about making games and the work and passion so many developers put into a project, it's just not right to steal their work. Things like Google play music, Netflix, Hulu, have made it pointless to pirate music/movies. And I know people that have gotten in trouble for pirating, nothing major, but still not worth it.
  • I have no problem purchasing an app, I got an iTunes account full of them (can't use) and now Android. What I hate and why I consider piracy is (brace yourselves for the truth) is that there is a lot of software either misrepresented or so full of damned ads to make it useless because the the dev is greedy. I've purchased a lot of apps and the other thing that burns my ass is, Amazon. Driving around in my truck with a older phone on my dash as a player and Amazon tells me that my app needs to be reinitialized? What? I paid for it, but it has to touch base every so often to check the license? Sorry, but after purchasing over 25 apps, I won't be buying anymore for my Blackberry from Amazon. Guess where I'll get them? Yep. This type of marketing is automatically assuming I'm dishonest. Being principled, I want to make sure they are getting every pennie's worth of their mistrust. :-) Say what you like, the bullcrap works both ways. Amazon needs to change this licensing strategy for good reason. It annoys me greatly in a world full of greater software annoyances.
  • OK fine, I'll uninstall Blackmart.
  • At one point in time, when you needed directions, you bought a map, which is now available for free. Want to play any game, you had to pay for it. Now when you need directions, you consult your map app, which for the most part, is free. Want to play almost any game, it can most likely be found for free. Looks to me that people simply believe that, because one developer offers a game/app for free, they should all be free. As long as I value the services an app offers, or the entertainment a game offers, I have no problem paying for it. The developers deserve it!
  • Well, the thought of some fat greasy Russian looking through my device for passwords, bank details etc is enough to keep me honest... And I hate ads tooo!
  • I pay for apps. There aren't any apps that cost more than my Starbucks drinks. I also use Google Rewards which gives me money toward apps.
  • Great read with a ton of insight into the design flaws of Android. I think this is the same issue Facebook has with its app. Now I have never used Facebook nor have I ever had an account, but I have plenty of friends that have Facebook (both on Android and iOS) and I can't begin to tell you the complaints I have heard from the Android users compared to the iOS users as far as the app experience. I think a lot of companies, IMHO, seem to go through the same issues. Maybe Nintendo is still not confident yet in the platform to work as efficiently as iOS, I don't know. But as a die-hard Android user since 2010, maybe this shed some light on the process for me. Once again, great article, Jerry.
  • Design flaws? Where?
  • Correct, you're not our Parent.. And we're not your personal Bank Firm. . We're not made of money. If we all were we would predominately all own IPhones. I've never personally ever felt like Microsoft, Windows and Internet Web Browsers should have been allowed on board until you were fool proof. . You're not tge only gets h wet e and you didn't invent the system. . You're peons here just like us. . Let's all remember that. If we had never allowed China and other third world countries to have control to manufacture our phones we might not be in the piss poor conditions were in. Sure, it would cost twice as much but in the long run we would have come out cheaper because cell ppl phones would be lasting a. Minimum of 2 to 3 times longer. . We could all do better but don't you ever act so pompass to think that you're a superior service and we are humble yo your becoming call. . You're not that great. Not not that impressed.
  • Eh? Could you say that in English please? And if China is a third world country Wtf does that make America? Fourth, fifth world?
  • I wish I knew what you were trying to say so I knew how to respond to your comment. I'm serious. Autocorrect went haywire here and I don't understand.
  • Nice one jezza.
  • "If we all were we would predominately all own IPhones." That was the only sentence I understood and you're wrong. Plenty of people buy Android flagships wordwide because they don't like iOS...
  • What I learned. Since I built a powerful gaming PC that cost quite a bit of money... Steam should give me games for free! Microsoft should give me all the games on their store too since I paid for Windows! Is the Adobe suite on the Windows store? I'll take that as well.
  • Where I live, to make Action Launcher usable costs half the daily wage ($4.99) There are games that cost about two days' wages (Most Final Fantasy games cost $16!) You could live for an entire MONTH with the money you'd rather spend in $99.99 in app purchases (Android Police even covered a game with $300 IAP's!!!) I'm not excusing Piracy in my neck of the woods, but you have to understand where we're coming from and why many, many folks resort to such... Sidenote. I HATE having to resort to Pirating sitcoms and other shows, but I need to. Not when our networks airing them HEAVILY censor them, or just straight up not available in the first place.
  • This is why I don't want to pretend we're deciding right and wrong here. Each of us has to make up our own mind about the morality of pirating content. I know what I think, and of course, it favors developers. I'm admittedly biased. But I live where an app is usually cheaper than a hamburger.
  • Other than it being wrong to rip off hard working developers, it's dangerous for your device and your information on the device. There's already a ton of free ad supported apps in the Play Store that are safe.
  • If the app has a price, I'm paying it. Not only is it the right thing to do by the developer, it encourages future support by providing the monetary resources to do so. The majority of paid apps are cheaper than a coffee from Starbucks. Not only that, but Google Opinion Rewards pretty much ensures I'm never paying full price.
  • What about apk mirror website?
  • I have no pity for pirates and for who gets pirated. That's why I never do it.
  • This is one of the things I love about Android is we're free to do what we want whether its pirating games, apps or movies. I watch Showbox which I can watch all the latest movies for free, I could care less if the entitled spoil brats of Hollywood lose money because I refused to pay for their movie on DVD or Blue Ray. I'll pay for a game if I really like the game but if not I'm happy to pirate it (OK may be not) outside of the Play Store like I did with ShowBox.
  • I use showbox too. The reason it irks me that people bandy the word theft about is that no one loses anything from me watching a motion picture on my phone. I am about as likely to pay for a movie as I am to buy an iPhone 7. That's why the mpaa are so very wrong when dreaming up numbers about what they imagine copyright infringement is costing them.
  • Just got a couple rooted/jailbroken Fire Sticks. Seems like it'll be great and I'll be able to shut off that ridiculously expensive Direct TV. So tired of paying the exorbitant prices of the big TV players. Something needs to change cause companies can't continue raising costs like this.
  • It's not that hard to to find Moviebox for iOS either ;)
  • A lot of movies I stream on showbox, I wind up for renting when it comes to market to show support for what I like. But I'm glad showbox exist as If I paid for it, and it was awful, I would have either walked out of a theater or turned it off 10-20 mins in, and lost a quite a few bucks for, and theaters don't give refunds. But I usually pay back 90% of what I stream.
  • Software 'Piracy' is a smear term for unauthorized downloading of software, which is copying, not theft. It makes little sense once you realize that "intellectual property" isn't. This "problem" is only a symptom of the real problem: proprietary software. These articles plead you to support the very people who perpetuate it, to help alleviate the symptom. Of course, the real boldness in posts like these is that they not only want you to give up your computing freedoms, but also to pay for it! "Please keep giving me money so I can afford to restrict you". Hmm. As has been mentioned, this is only one of a million business models. It's also the one with the most problems, ethical and otherwise. Developers really need to move on.