Earlier this month I posted about Google allowing carriers to selectively block tethering apps from their Android Market. Not a very ‘open’ sounding decision for the supposedly completely open platform.
Now this week we learn that Google is blocking access to the new Android Market move rental service for anyone using a rooted device. Again, it’s hard to see this as an open approach.
Rooting an Android device is a common and popular practice (though one that is still not in use by the majority of Android users) and one that is almost a signature feature of the Android platform. In a truly open platform, there shouldn’t be any penalty or limitations of access placed on those who choose to root their device.
Apparently the blocking of rooted devices is likely due to issues surrounding DRM for movies and potential piracy on rooted devices:
On the help menu of the official Android Market, Google gives a vague reason for the holdup, stating that “rooted devices are currently unsupported due to requirements related to copyright protection.”
Whatever Google’s reasons are, these two recent actions certainly don’t bolster the open image of Android. Especially when jailbroken iOS devices are under no restrictions at all when accessing the iTunes store.