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Phones

Google bans CyanogenMod Installer app from Play Store

CyanogenMod's first baby step to mainstream acceptability has faltered, with the customisable Android software booted from the Play Store by Google.

CyanogenMod's first baby step to mainstream acceptability has faltered, with the customisable Android software booted from the Play Store by Google.

The team behind Cyanogen recently published an app to make installing the software much easier, but they were contacted by Google yesterday to inform them they were in violation of the Play Store's terms of service.

"They advised us to voluntarily remove the application, or they would be forced to remove it administratively. We have complied with their wishes while we wait for a more favorable resolution," the company said in a statement. "After reaching out to the Play team, their feedback was that though application itself is harmless, since it 'encourages users to void their warranty', it would not be allowed to remain in the store."

The app installs the official Android Debug Bridge, a piece of software designed for developers to take complete control of devices. It then guides you through installing Cyanogen via your PC, a process that gives root access, which is what voids your warranty.

Google does not screen apps ahead of publication, as Apple does, instead scanning automatically for malware and manually reviewing more complex cases like this, hence the app being freely available for some weeks.

"We've seen hundreds of thousands of installations of the application, proving the demand for more choice, and that the need for an alternative Android experience exists," the Cyanogen team said in their statement. "As we work through this new hurdle, we will continue to make available and support the installation process via our own hosting services.

"Fortunately, Android is open enough that devices allow for installing applications via 'Unknown Sources' (ie sideload). Though it's a hassle and adds steps to the process, this does allow us a path forward, outside of the Play Store itself."

The company raised £4.3m of investment in September, with the aim of becoming a real alternative to Android. The software lets you control much more of the experience of using your phone, and has featured in all of our 'top ROMs' how-tos for various popular phones.

Have you tried Cyanogen? Do you think Google should be more open to alternatives like this, or does it have a duty of care to protect its users? Where should it draw that line? Let me know what you think down in the comments, or over on our unmoddable Facebook page.