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Google: $150 Augen Tablet Using Pirated Version of Android

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Guessing someone at Kmart isn’t going to be happy about this.

Google has announced that the makers of the $150 Augen GenTouch 78 Tablet is using a pirated version of Android. The Tablet/Slate caused quite a bit of a stir when it was surprisingly announced and there have even been a few reviews of the device, some including video.

What’s that you say? Pirated Android? Isn’t Android available for everyone? While Android is open source, use of some of the Google Apps are only available with a license, even though it is free. This most likely accounts for why those who did manage to get their hands on one of the devices report that the Android Marketplace will only allow you to browse but not purchase. Augen hasn’t spoken up yet. A Google spokesman said:

Augen included proprietary Google software in their product via an unauthorized vendor. Google only licenses its software to partners and OHA [Open Handset Alliance] members directly

Sounds like someone’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.

Via Laptop Mag

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

7 Comments

  1. xaueious

    08/07/2010 at 3:55 pm

    A rather uninformed title. They didn’t pirate Android. They pirated Google Apps for Android. You can’t pirate an open source OS.

  2. GTX

    08/07/2010 at 5:44 pm

    I was curious at the headline too… Google doesn’t own Android- how can someone pirate it from them?

  3. Warner Crocker

    08/07/2010 at 6:32 pm

    Guess that’s why the makers of the Augen Tablet announced today that future versions of its Tablet won’t have the Google Apps (GTalk, Maps, Marketplace, etc…). The key for the uninformed is in the word version.

  4. Sam

    08/07/2010 at 10:10 pm

    GTX: Google DOES own Android, they license it as open source. If no one owned Android, it would be in the public domain, and would not be under the GNU General Public License. [In any case, this is about the non-open-source Google Apps]

    xaeious: You can still pirate open source–simply distribute it (or products incorporating it) while claiming it is yours.

    • GTX

      08/08/2010 at 6:04 pm

      I was under the impression Android was developed by a third party, invested in and eventually purchased by Google- who developed Android OS alongside with the Open Handset Alliance who actually possesses ‘ownership’.

      While the Android name is a trademark of Google, and many of it’s applications, including the ones in question are standard on all commercially released devices I stand to reason that-

      I can create a device, use Android OS or modify its (non-google exclusive, nor HTC exclusive, nor Samsung exclusive) code, and sell it as my own.

  5. Marcelo L

    08/08/2010 at 2:42 pm

    @Sam: I don’t think they claimed any of the apps from Google were theirs, so that puts the claiming open source software as their own. Secondly, I believe Augen may have inadvertently allows it’s supplier Chitec to make their master product image ( also used for the GPad G10 they also market through pandawill.com ), and so Market, GMail and Maps went out the door with it.

    You’re right in that they own Android and it is published through AOSP as an open source initiative. But let’s be honest, and open, shall we ? Anything Android w/o GMail and at least Market is useless for 95%+ of the consumer market. Map is kind of a gray area because while most folks would LOVE to have Geo-location software, there are alternatives. Yes, nowhere as good alternatives I’d grant the argument, but alternatives nonetheless.

    FOSS folks have had a long standing beef with Google on just such a matter. If you’re going to put out an email client for your own email service on an admitedly OSS OS platform, you’ve got a legal right to do so, but you’ve just muddied yourself in terms of saying you’re open source. Anyone with a browser can access GMail, yes, but let’s be honest, in its current incarnation, the GMail Android client is about as bare bones an interface as you can get ( An alternative being K9 – http://code.google.com/p/k9mail/ ). So why have it licensed ?

    And Market ? Why license an application that it’s sole purpose is to grant the user access to download ( AND PURCHASE ) applications for your own OSS OS platform. It’s a ridiculously indefensible argument. Especially right now, when the Android Market itself is faltering behind iPhone App Store, and the proposed licensing mechanism being put forth is a band-aid solution at best. It’s a carry-over from PC based server license granting systems, which have been shown to both create customer enmity, and confusion in the long run. It just doesn’t make sense.

    What Google needs to do is simply open up Android Market access for all, and make the GMail apk executable a simple drop in, into every single handset, tablet, device that run Android. It’s ridiculous for them to cling to this notion that Gmail has not become ubiquitous and Maps is fast on it’s way to being the same thing.

  6. Sumocat

    08/09/2010 at 9:22 am

    FYI, Android is open source under an Apache license which allows proprietary versions of the software to exist, so it is possible to pirate a version of Android, in this case a version that included several proprietary bits.

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