Mar 20 AT 1:26 AM Taylor Wimberly 10 Comments

Open Home Users Experience Problems. Developer Rejects Google’s Copy Protection.

Do you know how to boot your Android phone into safe mode?  What happens if you are on the move and get locked out of your phone?  Chances are if you use the desktop replacement application Open Home, you learned the hard way.  Many users were temporarily locked out of their phones today after upgrading to the latest version of Open Home.  After installing the update, the phone would get stuck in a force close loop and users were unable to uninstall the application.

I found out about the issue late this afternoon after multiple people had left comments on this site and contacted us through our contact form.  You people are really funny with your emails you send in.  I don’t “work for Google” but I’m always happy to lend a helping hand.  After contacting the developer Better Android, I learned what was causing the problem and how to correct it.  If you are still having problems I direct you to their website.

Open Home with Mario them and icons.

Open Home with Mario them and icons.

So what was the source of this problem that crippled many phones?  Surprise, it comes from Google’s maligned copy protection.  Better Android had initially used the copy protection, but later decided to reject it after users complained.  When copy protection was turned off with a recent update, it broke the database access of the app and caused it to crash.

Users were forced to boot into safe mode(power + menu) in order to uninstall and then reinstall the application.  By reinstalling the application, the file structure was corrected and problems went away.  The fix was simple, but this demonstrates potential problems for the Android platform.

If an application accidently breaks the phone, how does the average user know how to correct the action?  Users on the go will not be able to access the Internet or phone a friend for help.  Instead they will have to locate a PC or drive to the nearest T-Mobile store.

So if you take one thing from this article please remember:  SAFE MODE = POWER + MENU.  :)

On a side note, Open Home has some really nice features they recently added.  aHome has taken a huge lead in the desktop wars, but Open Home is quickly catching up.  dxTop was my favorite, but this week I’m giving aHome a try.  Which desktop replacement is your favorite?

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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  • MrQuick

    “So if you take one thing from this article please remember: SAFE MODE = POWER + HOME.”

    NOPE! That isn’t the one thing from this article to remember.


    • Taylor Wimberly


  • Gunderstorm

    “Learned the hard way” is right! I can’t put into words how frustrating that was. Once I calmed down and got safe mode going, things got better of course. But wow, my phone almost went out my car window.

  • MakeMobile

    Here at MakeMobile we experienced exactly the same kind of problems with our first product, CoursePro Demo. We found that our users we not so willing to stick with us and find out how to fix the problem (probably because it didn’t disable the whole phone). Most of the users that experienced the problem just posted irate comments in the Market. Our rating plummeted. Quite a few even accused us of purposely causing the problem in order to force users to upgrade to the paid version of the app. It was a very disappointing experience for us to say the least. I’m glad that the word is finally getting out that these types of problems with the Market exist. Maybe we will see Google implement some Market upgrades soon.

  • Steve

    Even though one wants to hope that the Android OS will move past the iPhone. Goggle seems to be off to a bumpy start.

    Word of mouth advertising can kill a good product.

    • foebea

      Word of mouth advertising can make it too. Is that you Jobs? I didn’t know you posted under your own name.

      Seriously though, I went into this phone understanding completely the bugginess. On an unoptimized device designed for user modification it is to be expected. I had a chance to play with an iphone for a while and it seems everything I have gotten used to over the past few months just doesnt work on the iphone. The devices have nothing in common at all.

      I’m quite sure google will not leave us on market 1.0 forever, in addition to a less crippling copy protection mechanizm I am expecting to see a better search function. If nothing else, maybe we as devs can come up with a replacement market which access the android market data via a new app.

  • Gunderstorm

    Looks like there’s a new update today. Do we need to be as cautious about this one? Nothing but new themes on the Better Android blog.

  • app_phil

    is there another or better way to protect apps than google provides at the moment?

  • Anti-DRM

    Thank God they didn’t have Copy Protection when the “Wheel” was invented, or we would NOT be rolling along into the future like we are today! :D

    DRM! ..what does it really stand for? I believe it stands for “Digital Rectal Manipulation”. The original creators of content may have a proper motive or reason to want to keep their Music, Art, Idea, Movie, Writing, Coding protected in some way. But DRM is the wrong way to do that.

    Every industry has waste and by products of the creative process while producing products presented to the public for consumption and purchase. Even a fancy 5Star restaurant knows that a certain percentage of their created resources go to waste as spoilage and overage in the dumpster. Hopefully they don’t come up with a similar DRM type scheme to keep maggots from properly decomposing it in landfills for want of an SD Association Card’s CPRM like license!

    Luckily, at least in that industry, it simply becomes an accepted or accepted write off. But for some reason ever since our own Congress seen fit to enact Copyright Protections, that were to ensure an incentive to continue to create Art, Music and Literature, they unwittingly fostered the creation of a Maggot like industry. That lives off of a Mafioso like Protection Scheme that has consumers paying more for a piece of Copyrighted works for a “””FEE””” that never sees the creators pockets!

    A sort of “Insurance” fee! ….and we need to know exactly where the idea of Insurance came from, to understand that like DRM, Copy Protection Schemes (Copyright)…… Insurance fees are what we spend that only really benefits the insurance company. Like the ‘House’ in the Gambling Industry, Insurance is a bet, where the ‘House’ always wins. So we buy insurance, betting that a fire will burn us down, a thief will steal from you or that you might die tomorrow. The Insurance Company (like the DRM Copyright Industry) is betting that you most likely will NOT die tomorrow, your home will never burn down and you’ll most likely never crash your car. They win most of the time and if Artist, Musicians, Writers, Coders realized this, maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to spend our money on Mafioso like, da…. DRM Protection Schemes dah…. boss. That are mainly run by an industry NOT too different from the Insurance and Gambling Industry. Where the HOUSE always wins in the end!

    So remember the next time you feel the need to protect your Creation or Artistic endeavor with some Mafioso like DRM, what it feels like to have a digital rectal examination and that you’re really only insuring that your good paying customers, will have to pay for that…. ahmm… privileged experience. As well as YOU, in lost revenue! ….so just learn to forget about the few that steal it and count it as spoilage or overage and keep the creative juices flowing instead of dreaming about retiring on one work of art, writing, coding or music making all your life! In the end YOU and your Customers will be the winners, instead of an industry created like the Mafioso Protection Scheme that’s bound to be broken!

    btw…. SD Association’s CPRM encryption was broken the day they (Toshiba, Panasonic, etc et al) introduced it as an unbreakable DRM protection scheme by a hacker they invited, in just 15minutes! haha So the entire Copy Production Industry is still…… beating a DEAD Horse on this! :DDD

  • http://Website tim

    I use PandaHome and love it – beside it being free.