Apps from Amazon routinely phone home and other interesting details
So the Amazon Appstore has been up and running for a few weeks now, and I’ve managed to break something no less than 3 times. Yes, I am embarrassed; I should have achieved a score of at least 6.
But I inadvertently learned some fascinating details about the Amazon Appstore, so it’s not a complete loss.
No refunds for apps
I accidentally bought an app while trying it on my PC last week. I’m still not sure how, exactly, but I do know that I didn’t click any buttons. The bad news is Amazon have a policy against refunding apps. Luckily for me, they made an exception.
But I think they only made the exception because I called in with other technical problems. The Appstore client kept insisting that the 3GB of space I had on my SD card wasn’t enough. (I had to reinstall the client.)
Did you know Amazon can remotely disable apps?
More out of curiosity that anything, I downloaded the refunded app. I wanted to see what Amazon would do. Today I tried to run it, and I got a message saying that I didn’t own it and did I want more details. Yes, Amazon remotely killed the app.
Apps phone home
I left my Viewsonic gTablet sitting at home while I was at a conference last week. The battery died while I was gone, and when I charged again I noticed 2 interesting details. The first is that all the apps wanted to check with Amazon before I could open them. What’s truly curious is that I only have free apps. Some, like the Kindle app, have always been free and always will be free. But even the free Kindle app insisted on contacting Amazon before I could do anything with it. (BTW, it seems like the apps want to do this on a weekly basis, but I’m not sure.)
Let me put it a different way. If you get the same app from the Android Market, it won’t be quite so crippled by DRM. For example, I’ve had an illicit copy of the Kindle app since forever, and I’ve never encountered this kind of block before. This strikes me as a pretty damn good reason to abandon the Amazon Appstore.
I also discovered that if you don’t set the date, the apps can’t phone home. I know that that is a common Android design flaw, but it’s irritating nonetheless. It’s also laughable that it still exists in 2011.
So those are some of the quirks I’ve noticed with the Amazon Appstore. I haven’t seen any mention of problems elsewhere, so I thought this post was worthwhile. Have you had any trouble?