AT&T cripples its first Android offering; not suitable for devs

Not even a full day after releasing the Android powered Motorola Backflip, AT&T is being slammed for closing off the Android platform on the device. Last week, we reported that AT&T had stripped Google search from Android, in favor of Yahoo. However, we had no idea of what else was to follow.

Early adopters of the Motorola Backflip may be compelled to return their phones after realizing that it doesn't run the Android they hoped for. Android's primary appeal comes from its open-ness. AT&T (which is synonymous with "the iPhone carrier"), seems to have a thing against a platform being open to user customization. One of the shocking discoveries of a now annoyed Backflip owner involves just this. In the XDA-Developers forum, aikeru posts a thread entitled "[Android] Motorola Backflip - DON'T BUY, HERE'S WHY!."

In the post, aikeru makes known that the device lacks the option to install applications from un-trusted sources. In all builds of Android, users have the option to allow non-Market apps to be installed on their phones. This allows users to install apps from a memory card or via their web browser. Without having such an option, developers have no way of testing their own applications on their device. The Backflip is 100% useless to them.

He also mentions that AT&T loaded a lot of their own bloatware on the device, and hid/removed any competing apps that Android would have come with. This, combined with the outdated Android 1.5 and inability to use Google search, makes this phone a no-go for most Android fans. Just when you thought AT&T was opening up, they go ahead and prove you wrong.

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Does this surprise anyone? Android caught on slowly because of its openness and carriers worried that they could not make money.

Reminds me of good old Verizon loading their HIDEOUS GIMPED UI on all their phones and shutting off BT on all of them as well.

necrosis said,
Reminds me of good old Verizon loading their HIDEOUS GIMPED UI on all their phones and shutting off BT on all of them as well.

Exactly. I don't agree with AT&Ts decision to limit the available apps or cripple the phone in any way, but this certainly is not uncommon practice for most carriers.

If anyone thinks AT&T is going to do ANYTHING until they lose the iPhone, you're nuts.
You can't go 2 feet inside a corp store without seeing an iPhone, iPhone accessory or a worker drone asking if you want an iPhone. They should rename the stores the iPhone store.

But android is OPEN SAUCE!!! It's FREE!!!!
/s
I don't think that this will make anyone realize that being open-source doesn't mean being free.

intrinity1 said,
I feel for the people who got this phone on a two-year contract.
Just roam "a bit", that contract will be canceled real quick. ;)

Jaybot said,
Thank God I am not longer on AT&T. To Hell with that company!
Thank me, I never was! Thank me, God has nothing to do with anything!!

M_Lyons10 said,
Oh wow. This is pretty bad on the part of AT&T... They never fail to disappoint...
Good! ;)

gameboy1977 said,
you stupid people!

I knew that AT&T already remove google from cell phones stuff, because google is really monopoly!

Did you read the article at all? Like at least the first line?

gameboy1977 said,
you stupid people!

I knew that AT&T already remove google from cell phones stuff, because google is really monopoly!

Take a look in the mirror!

I currently have a Cliq and it was more locked down than my MT3G. I cannot root it (I know there is a method, but it is not easy) and am stuck with this 1.5 until Motorola decides I am ready for v2 or v2.1. I can't uninstall any of the apps Moto put on the phone when I bought it. At least I can install from unknown sources though. My point is, I think some of the blame should fall to Motorola as they have installed bloatware on their phones and prevented users from removing it without jumping through hoops.

Current iPhone holder.. switching when the Nexus One hits on Verizon. If the Verizon version is crippled anywhere close to this, then it's a hello to t-mobile.. even if they do have ****ty coverage =/

Aetasiric said,
Current iPhone holder.. switching when the Nexus One hits on Verizon. If the Verizon version is crippled anywhere close to this, then it's a hello to t-mobile.. even if they do have ****ty coverage =/

T-Mobile is updating their coverage and are in beta testing now. :)

techbeck said,

T-Mobile is updating their coverage and are in beta testing now. :)

Around me, T-Mobile is actually improving, Im getting higher speeds (HSPDA, I guess, it says H on the phone) in areas that only had EDGE before.

Buy an unlocked / unhampered model off of one of the many places on the net where they will be available. It's always been the solution that worked best for me, and I've not been tied to a contract for quite some time.

fauxtographer said,
Buy an unlocked / unhampered model off of one of the many places on the net where they will be available. It's always been the solution that worked best for me, and I've not been tied to a contract for quite some time.

Faux', 'nuff said my friend...'nuff said...

fauxtographer said,
Buy an unlocked / unhampered model off of one of the many places on the net where they will be available. It's always been the solution that worked best for me, and I've not been tied to a contract for quite some time.

Thats not the point....shouldnt have to do that.

lawl, so glad I didn't wait to get a phone. I was actually going to get this phone, but decided to get a Droid on Verizon last week, glad that worked out in my favor. (BTW, at&t has excellent coverage where I live, Verizon was the 2nd best, only reason why I considered at&t)

neufuse said,
Cell phone carriers... they want to control your phone.... we need them to stop this!

We're all too much of a push over here in the US. It's not just cell carriers, but they are a very good example of it. Look at the technology that comes out of this country, yet, our cell phone technology is way behind the rest of the world. Why? Because the cell carriers know we're still going to pay them even when they offer us decade old technology. Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about it. The FCC needs to step in and force cell companies to cut out the BS.

Betaz said,

... The FCC needs to step in and force cell companies to cut out the BS.

Time to start filing complaints with the FCC.

neufuse said,
Cell phone carriers... they want to control your phone.... we need them to stop this!

Considering the carriers just subsidised that phone you bought from them by alot, and not to mention you're using their network/system/services anyways. Having a level of control over that is well within their right to do. If you wanted your phone to be "free" maybe you shouldn't have gotten it under contract then? As long as you're ready to pay full price for the phone, then by all means, do what ever you want with it.

Wow that's pathetic...

And another sad thing about it is people are going to get a bad impression about Android because of it...

/- Razorfold said,
Wow that's pathetic...

And another sad thing about it is people are going to get a bad impression about Android because of it...

I dont think so. The articles are clearly stating AT&T....there should be no confusion...at least I hope not.

Edited by techbeck, Mar 8 2010, 9:55pm :

techbeck said,

I dont think so. The articles are clearly stating AT&T....there should be no confusion...at least I hope not.

Not the article. Most people aren't techies and don't visit sites like Neowin etc. They'll buy this phone, find out it works horribly and assume it's because of Android.

/- Razorfold said,

Not the article. Most people aren't techies and don't visit sites like Neowin etc. They'll buy this phone, find out it works horribly and assume it's because of Android.

True, some may. Smarter ones will ask questions. Others who dont know any better shouldnt be using a smartphone anyway/

/- Razorfold said,

Not the article. Most people aren't techies and don't visit sites like Neowin etc. They'll buy this phone, find out it works horribly and assume it's because of Android.


I don't think this would be as big a deal, just because people who would use the features that are locked out, know enough to know it's not an Android issue but an AT&T issue. They'll all just drop AT&T and go for a carrier that doesn't feel like they have to have you under their thumb at all times.

/- Razorfold said,
Wow that's pathetic...
And another sad thing about it is people are going to get a bad impression about Android because of it...

Believe me I have my Nexus with Android 2.1 right here what AT&T does is their own problem ... Although I can agree that for people who never seen or use Android, they could end up believing Android is that crippled version used by AT&T.

I guess that's the risk of being an open platform, operators can do stupid thing with it.

Edited by Ikshaar, Mar 8 2010, 9:24pm :

/- Razorfold said,
Wow that's pathetic...

And another sad thing about it is people are going to get a bad impression about Android because of it...

Nah, more like a bad impression of AT&T and Motoroloa. Most people have no clue what OS their phone uses.

lordcanti86 said,
Nah, more like a bad impression of AT&T and Motoroloa. Most people have no clue what OS their phone uses.

Exactly. People here who are the niche techie minority think the market is full of people like them. Guess what guys, IT"S NOT! 98%, yes I think it's that high, of consumer phone buyers don't know or care what OS their phone uses. They want it to look good and do the things most people care about. Lots of customization, while nice, is lower on the list for most people compared to other things. And not being able to install apps from a non-marketplace source? Yeah, very low one.

GP007 said,

Exactly. People here who are the niche techie minority think the market is full of people like them. Guess what guys, IT"S NOT! 98%, yes I think it's that high, of consumer phone buyers don't know or care what OS their phone uses. They want it to look good and do the things most people care about. Lots of customization, while nice, is lower on the list for most people compared to other things. And not being able to install apps from a non-marketplace source? Yeah, very low one.

98% of statistics are made up on the spot. But that aside.

The phone is advertised as At&ts first android phone, it even says it on the pricetag. People will use it, and if they don't like the yahoo stuff on it, or the ****ty ass at&t apps that are put on it; they'll naturally think its because of Android, or to a lesser extent Motorola.

It's one of the reasons why winmo gets such a bad rep, carriers fill the phone with so much crap and get rid of so many features (like verizon blocking the gps from being used with google maps), etc

Lewism said,
Because Apple said so?

/sarcasm.

You're making a joke, but it crossed my mind. AT&T is depending an awful lot on Apple right now, and Apple on AT&T. We know that Apple [i]does not like[/i] Android right now, and the Backflip sends a strong anti-Google message: no Google apps, horribly crippled OS, and marketed *just* enough so that plenty of people will try it and get some negative reviews out. AT&T's gamble would then seem to be whether the negativity would be pointed at Android or at themselves.

Of course, that's a crapload of paranoia right there, and probably isn't true. It does, however, amaze me that AT&T is crippling phone software worse than Verizon ever did, while Verizon's Android device is one of the most open phones they've ever offered.

Huh, so here I thought without the format bar I could wing some italics, which I almost never do, and I guessed wrong, lol. Hmm, wait, was it <i>this</i>? Maybe? *insert woot! or sonuva! here*

techbeck said,
Tisk tisk AT&T. Guess they will lose more customers.

More like not "gain", rather than lose. I don't think there's a large group of users leaving AT&T because the Android won't work for them, more like they won't make the switch over.

Tarrant64 said,

More like not "gain", rather than lose. I don't think there's a large group of users leaving AT&T because the Android won't work for them, more like they won't make the switch over.

There will be some who were waiting to upgrade to a droid. Granted not thousands of people...but some will.

Tarrant64 said,

More like not "gain", rather than lose. I don't think there's a large group of users leaving AT&T because the Android won't work for them, more like they won't make the switch over.

Oh no, they will absolutely lose me as a customer, and I feel many more people because of crap like this. I'm an iPhone user waiting for an appropriate Android product to switch over. I am waiting for either the Nexus One on a decent carrier, or perhaps the Desire. AT&T service is great for me in Raleigh, NC, so the Desire would be a great phone for me, but if those come out with these same restrictions, then I will, without a doubt, be leaving AT&T.

It's just one thing after another with AT&T these days. It's starting to become impressive that they even have any customers.

techbeck said,
Tisk tisk AT&T. Guess they will lose more customers.

not everyone uses google so some of us could care less. I personally used google maybe 3 times when it was new.

tablet_user said,

not everyone uses google so some of us could care less. I personally used google maybe 3 times when it was new.

Did you not read the whole article? It isnt just about Google search

tablet_user said,

not everyone uses google so some of us could care less. I personally used google maybe 3 times when it was new.


http://incompetech.com/gallimaufry/care_less.html

Yoma said,
Oh Snap, snap and snap! xD

I just have one thing to say... told ya so! =)

Thanks AT&T for further solidifying your position as America's worst wireless carrier.

vaximily said,

I just have one thing to say... told ya so! =)

Thanks AT&T for further solidifying your position as America's worst wireless carrier.

Couldn't say it any better.

vaximily said,

I just have one thing to say... told ya so! =)

Thanks AT&T for further solidifying your position as America's worst wireless carrier.

+10000000.

This is a big middle finger to AT&T's customers, as well as Google. Well guess what AT&T.. I got two big middle fingers pointed right back at you! Worst. Carrier. Ever.