The world was up in arms when it was discovered that Apple's iPhone comes with a "kill switch" that "allows Apple to stored on the device." That terrible, proprietary, all-controlling Apple!
Well, as it turns out, Google's open-source Android comes with a similar feature, as reported by Computerworld:
In the Android Market terms of service, Google expressly says that it might remotely remove an application from user phones. "Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement...in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion," the terms, linked to from the phone, read.
So far, Google is getting a free pass on its kill switch, perhaps because it has been more open about the "feature," as Computerworld suggests, or perhaps because, unlike Apple, which vets applications in its App Store, this may be the only way Google can protect users from malicious applications added to its Android Market, which allows any apps through the door and onto devices like the T-Mobile G1. Google enables freedom to put applications onto its Android-based phones, but it reserves the freedom to yank them off, should it want to do so.
Prudent? Yes. Android customers, however, will have to depend upon.
It would actually be quite funny to see what Google would do if Microsoft or Apple put an application on the Android Market that installed Windows Mobile or Apple's iPhone software over Android. Worthy of the kill switch?