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Repenting from Android piracy December 8, 2012

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in android, Piracy.

OK I admit it, and I’m sorry. (And I really hope there’s no liability here). I got an Android tablet (Sony Tablet S) half a year ago, and after the few free games, I found a bunch of pirated apps that were especially useful to stop ads from popping up especially when my daughter was using the tablet. I must admit that I don’t own a credit card and there was really no way to purchase an app (at that time). However, sadly, I didn’t really feel guilty about it either. It seemed like “open” meant that using some free apps would be ok.

However, honestly, this whole Apple-controlling-the-market really bothered me. And I saw in disgust how Apple made so much money, and was still trying to sue Android and any Android-associates. I also noted how Apple made so much more money than Android. And also saw how developers made so much less on the Android…. piracy being one of the main concerns for Android developers.

Enough was enough, I had to start again. And my wife and I committed to remove any pirated stuff on our tablet. In my case, this meant resetting the tablet—deleting everything, and reconfiguring.

Then, we got our friends to help us with making credit card purchases… and yes, they are close friends, and they trust us. And we bought about $20 worth of apps, books and games. I know that’s not much, but convert it to my local currency, and it is a big deal! We have also budget another $20 for the remainder of the holiday season, and then from then on… every few months… we’ll look to make a purchase or two.

It really felt good to be liberated from pirated material. But more importantly, I really felt I was putting my Android loyalty to the test. It was not enough to say that Android makes the world a better place, without supporting it, or even while I was undermining it. And I felt something needed to be done, which I’m glad I (we) did.

I have a few concerns though… firstly… how to prevent in-app purchases… especially accidental ones made by our daughter, or even by us. Secondly, the lack of payment options for my country.

The first problem I solved by adding a new account to the tablet, which does not have a google wallet account. So, everytime I would have to make a purchase, it would ask me to configure my account. It is a workaround, I know. And I would much prefer every purchase requiring a passcode. Nevertheless, it works for now.  by going to settings in Google Play, entering a PIN in the “Set or change PIN” and then choosing “Use PIN for purchases”. That’s exactly what I wanted (and thanks to a reader, for pointing this out).

The second problem is much bigger, and way out of my hands. My country is not famous for how much we spend on apps. So, I doubt there will be a rush towards making payment easy here, where there are other more urgent markets. Nevertheless, I do hope one day, we will be on par with other countries to access and purchase data. (clarification: While Credit cards and seemingly debit cards are accepted through Google Play, it seems Maestro Debit cards don’t work on Google Play… which most of us here use. So that’s what I mean by more payment options needed.)

So, that’s my little android story of the season. (I really hope no anti-piracy police will come knocking on my door for confessing like this, but I really feel this story needed to be told).



1. Leonard Peris (@LeonardPeris) - December 9, 2012

To prevent unauthorized purchases you can setup a PIN code for transactions in the settings menu of the Play Store. I believe you can also limit installations of apps via that same menu. Which country do you reside in that doesn’t support purchases from the PlayStore?

NAyK - December 9, 2012

@LeonardPeris: Hey thanks. I’m going to check it out right away…. and it works. Wow, I wonder why I couldn’t figure that out earlier. I will correct my blogpost immediately. Also, clarification about “country”. I’m in India… and we usually use Maestro debit cards which are not compatible on Google Play. Thanks, for the PIN tip though. Life saver!

2. William - December 25, 2012

As an Android developer, I must say – thank you

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