Mar 25 AT 2:53 PM Taylor Wimberly 31 Comments

Dell Aero continues AT&T’s lockdown strategy for Android

Maybe we overreacted when we called AT&T the most crippled Android experience. They are however treating Android different from every other United States carrier.

For their first device, the Motorola Backflip, AT&T removed Google search in favor of Yahoo and prohibited users from running non-Market Android applications. On top of this, the device also came preloaded with a bunch of crapware that the user is unable to uninstall.

When AT&T announced their second Android phone, the Dell Aero, many of us were curious if the device would get the same treatment. I had a feeling they might after Engadget got to play with the phone because the Dell rep would not let them use the device turned on.

It did not take long to get an answer as PhoneNews was able to confirm with Dell that the Aero will in fact block applications that do not come from the official Android Market.

To the average consumer, this is likely no big deal.

The hardcore Android fans will find it disappointing though. Since AT&T is blocking non-Market applications, this will prevent users from purchasing apps from alternative markets, participating in public betas, and loading homebrewed apps.

This essentially goes against the open approach of Android and is more akin to the closed App Store for AT&T’s iPhone.

If AT&T continues this strategy, who knows what else they have in store. Users who want the full Android experience should probably consider another carrier. Either that or purchase an unlocked Nexus One from Google.

Source: PhoneNews

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Ripslash

    Why are you doing this to me ATT?

    • http://twitter.com/velazcod velazcod

      I think this is actually expected from AT&T… this is never going to change, most likely all phones that AT&T sells in the future will be crippled like this.

      If you are under contract with AT&T, or just want to stay with them, then get an unlocked Nexus One from Google which now supports AT&T’s 3G frequencies.

    • http://www.google.com/profiles/anakin78z anakin78z

      That’s a good question. What would ATT be getting out of this? Does ATT get a cut from Android Market sales? That’s the only reason I can think of for them to block other markets.

    • http://Website shen

      Err because ATT really does sucks?

      As for the aero, Looks like they plan to use the extra screen real estate (3.5″ vs 3.2″ standard for similarly spec’d phones) to put an iphone-like navigation bar with a back button and a menu button. although the arrow button on the side could also be a back button. perhaps the button below the volume rocker on the side serves as a home button? all just guesses
      Hopefully that bulge doesn’t mean it’s heavy.
      Opinions: http://bit.ly/dell-aero-verdict

  • http://Website firerock

    Why even bother to release to this open source phone in such a state…lame!

  • http://Website maxisma

    Well, It’s still possible to install via ADB (adb install XXX.apk)

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      I heard that reported once, but I also saw others dispute it. Do you own a Backflip?

  • http://Website K.Y

    AT&T is just an axx, why bother to let them have android phone?! party pooper

  • http://Website Sullivan

    Good bye AT&T…hello Sprint. AT&T, you’re dead to me…you can as they say – Suck it!

    Me and my family plan of four phones will gladly say screw you and your annoying Owen Wilson’s Brother’s commercials and your blatant Android castration.

  • http://Website Jay

    Will it at least have google search instead of yahoo.

  • http://Website Jason

    This probably isn’t that big of a deal to hardcore android folks as I am sure this device will probably be rooted and someone will figure out how to reverse that setting pretty easy.

    • http://Website matt

      if its so easy, how come the backflip aint rooted yet then?

      • http://web.mac.com/barrywoods barry99705

        Cause it’s a piece of crap phone? I mean, come on! What drugged out designer thought it’d be a good idea to put the keyboard on the outside of the phone?

  • http://Website Paul

    This is getting ridiculous. Any carrier that has a phone I want doesn’t have good service. And the carriers that have good service don’t yet have a phone I want. Looks like Google really ticked AT&T off and they are just crippling their phones now. I don’t think AT&T cares at all either. As long as they have a stranglehold on the iPhone, these Android phones are just store filler.

  • Killa

    AT&T sucks, AT&T sucks, AT&T sucks… Ahhhh!!! If your gonna get Android phones just to screw with them then leave ‘em alone!

  • http://Website Patrick O’Leary

    Nitpick: Unsigned apps are not installable on ANY Android phone. Even during development, apps must be signed (usually, with automatically-generated debug keys which will not be accepted by the Market). Yes, this includes rooted phones; since Android doesn’t trace the certificates back to an authority, there’s no real point in not signing them. The ADT makes creating a self-signed cert suitable for either the Market or individual deployment trivially easy.

    • http://Website Jason

      Precisely. I was expecting a more nuanced understanding from an Android fansite.

    • http://Website Patrick O’Leary

      Fixed! Thanks, Taylor.

  • http://Website Josh Centers

    It appears as though Verizon and AT&T have swapped places in a very short amount of time. Oh, except Verizon has a vastly superior network.

  • http://Website Houston

    If you’re a developer, or a serious beta tester, why in the world would you purchase the Dell or Motorola Android offerings from AT&T? Both of those phones are/will be inferior–specifications-wise–to the Nexus One, which as noted above, is now available with AT&T’s 3G bands.

    In addition, we all know now that AT&T is going to maintain this practice of limiting Android to Market-only apps. We all saw this with the Backflip. No one should be surprised with this now second offering, or subsequent offerings from AT&T.

    Just accept this as fact.

  • http://Website treefq

    Seems like Sony and Dell need to start supplying phones to other carriers if they want to see any real android market share.

  • http://Website just some dude

    This is called AT&T kissing Apples ass. I can hear the closed door meetings now. “Ok you guys cripple the Androids and we will keep our contract going with you.:

    • http://Website Russ

      I think this is probably not far from the truth. Apple wants to make Android look bad. Besides lawsuits, at&t is really their only other arm for swinging at Android.

  • http://Website Jeb

    Well keep in mind that the application lockdown was the one flaw that could be fixed. XDA had a solution up in less than a week. Now the real question is whether or not they lobotomized the Google App.

  • http://elusive-media.com Jacob

    Surely it’s possible to reflash the phone with an unlocked version of the android? You could still use your AT&T service but without the crapware?

  • http://Website Tim

    One thing I would say is right now IPhone is AT&T cash cow and saving grace. Because honestly NO they do not have the largest or fast 3G network. From what I’ve heard they have a history of dropping calls but people stay because they are so wrapped up in the IPhone universe I.E. ITunes. If it were not for IPhone i personally feel that AT&T would not be where they are now. Back to my point. As long as IPhone is AT&T darling the Android platform will be their Red Headed Freckled Stepchild unless the customers of AT&T raise enough hell about it and honestly do you really even want a Backflip? and honestly with the Nexus One available just get a real unlock fully functional phone. Example I don’t root my phone but, i was nice to download SWYPE to my phone. Ask yourself BACKFLIP and DELL AERO can you do that?

  • http://Website JB

    Just ROOT them. Then ATT can’t do anything about it.

    • fk

      bro can u link the software?

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  • http://www.aarongcurtis.com Aaron

    You have a typo or a grammatical error in your second sentence. “Different” should read “differently” as it is an adverb, not an adjective.

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