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Paid Android apps blocked on developer phones

Creators of paid applications for Google's mobile operating system can purchase a $399 unlocked version of HTC's G1 phone, but not download their own apps to it.

A special unlocked version of the G1 phone available to developers is unable to run paid Android applications for fear of piracy. CNET

Mobile developers who purchased an unlocked HTC G1 phone from Google discovered this week that they can't run paid applications from the Android Market.

Google is denying those developers access to copy-protected applications sold in the Android Market because developers have a higher level of access to the G1 phone than regular users, and could potentially break the copy protection on those applications, according to IDG News Service. "We aren't distributing copy-protected applications to these phones in order to minimize unauthorized copy of the applications," a Google representative said in a statement sent to CNET.

Developers willing to join the Android developer program for $25 can buy an unlocked G1 handset for $399. That version of the device also apparently allows them access to a special folder where paid applications are stored away from the prying eyes of regular customers who may be interested in breaking the copy protection on those applications.

For that reason, Google has simply blocked those using the unlocked G1 from downloading paid applications from the Android Market. That didn't sit well with some developers on a thread on Google's Android Forums, who felt Google was unfairly portraying them as pirates while also denying them the ability to download their own paid applications on the Android Market.

It doesn't appear that the ban on paid applications extends to those who have unlocked the retail version of the G1, at least not as of yet.