Your Android Has a Kill-Switch
Your Android phone is only mostly yours: Google may delete applications from your handset as it sees fit.
Unlike Apple, the company has made no attempt to hide its intentions, and includes the details in the Android Market terms and conditions, as spotted by Computer World:
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.
But the existence of the capability opens more questions about the platform.
The clause only covers applications distributed through the Android Market, but the whole point of Android is that anyone can distribute any applications they like. Mobile publisher Handango has already stated it will be selling Android applications through its web site.
So will Google be able to remove applications installed by someone else? We've asked Handango and the Open Handset Alliance (nominal owners of Android), but haven't heard back as yet.
Android users might be more receptive to Google's remote kill switch than iPhone users were to Apple's for a couple of reasons. First, Google is being upfront about it. Apple didn't confirm the capability for the iPhone until days after a developer discovered it.
In addition, Google says that if it does remotely remove an application, it will try to get users their money back, a question that iPhone users have wondered about in the case of an iPhone application recall.