CrackBerry Asks: How important is side loading to you?

By Jared DiPane on 9 Apr 2012 04:37 pm
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*Update from Kevin: I reached out to RIM to get further clarification on RIM's future plans for sideloading. RIM clarified that they have not officially announced their longterm sideloading strategy as of yet, and for now it is at it always was. That said, they are going to look at ways of reducing piracy which may or may not include changing the ability to sideload apps. As a first step, RIM did say they are going to introduce a feature in an upcoming release of the PlayBook OS that will encrypt apps so they can only be run by the user who purchased the app. *

As we now know, RIM plans to remove the ability to side load applications in an upcoming update to the BlackBerry PlayBook. While I have already outlined why they may be doing this, and shared some opinions, we want to know from a calm, cool, and collected CrackBerry Nation how you feel about this. Now that you have had some time to soak in the news, read the benefits, and think of how it may negatively affect you, let's hear it. Are you happy, sad, mad, glad, or does this not impact you in the least?

97 comments

JAKrzysztow

Not sure how to vote on this one. I have never sided loaded, but I still don't wish this removed as I may in the future/

edyb

This article seems to explain it most clearly:

http://www.tgdaily.com/mobility-brief/
62613-playbook-update-will-cut-off-android-app-side-loading

(shortened link: http://bit.ly/HR03Bo)

To quote:

"Research in Motion, however, apparently isn't thrilled at the rampant amount of Android apps that are being converted by individual users and then loaded onto the Playbook.

What the company would highly prefer is for the app's developer to convert it into a Playbook-friendly format and then submit it to the Blackberry App World marketplace so that it becomes an official Playbook app."

B_Eazy

If that is the case as they say, then they shouldnt take out sideloading! They should modify the way they provide signing keys to be a developper and convert the apk files!
Nice way of avoiding the real problem RIM!

Malachi.2.15

It depends...if the apps I sideload (kindle, google maps, etc) end up in app world, then I would be ok with no sideloading (need another voting option).

axllebeer

I'm starting to lean towards what you think. If the apps are in App World, then I'm mostly ok with it. But I can see why Devs will hate it. And for them it's not a good thing. There needs to be a way for Developers to test their apps and I can't imagine a better way than for them to just load them onto a PlayBook.

kb2755

I completely agree, at a time where attracting new and big name developers is a crucial necessity for RIM, this is not the right path to be taking.

axllebeer

Yes a very good point. There have been several people in the forums that write an app and it might not be in App World so they provide a link and then we side load the bar file. This for me has been a really cool thing and for the Dev that wants to get feed back before submitting to App World also. I would hate to see this process end.

Innovatology

Don't worry about legit developers. There will be ways for us to test our own apps, and to allow us to distribute test versions to our beta testers. But it will allow us to do that in a more controlled fashion than we can do now. For developers this is a Good Thing.

UberschallSamsara

It's going to be more of a problem for pirates and folks who flout copyright by converting Android apps w/out bothering to ask the dev if it's ok. Devs will be unaffected, since we'll just use debug tokens to load apps onto the device. The testing arguments are bogus.

slydawg

I was about to buy both a Playbook 64G and my first BB phone (to Bridge). Now I feel let down because I know 2 or 3 applications I need are not available in BB App World. If they were not available by the time 2.0 made sideloading practicable, why should I expect them now?

I'm thinking about buying another platform.

ice4u2

+1

I love the form factor of my Playbook. Coupling it with apps I actually use makes it all the more enjoyable. If they take sideloading away from me I'd be cool with it if those apps (Kindle, google maps, NPR, etc) eventually make their way to the app store. If not, my playbook will just be used for surfing the internet and I'd probably go invest in an ipad or windows tablet with the intent on eventually converting.

I want my playbook to rock out...but without apps it's like having a Bugatti parked in your garage and no gas to fill it up with. Sure it's got performance, but without fuel all you can do is turn it on and listen to the radio (ie surf the internet).

But we'll see. BB10 is sink or swim for my relationship with RIM.

MobiJew

i test apps for devs, no sideloading means no testing :/

mckillio

Isn't that what the SDK/NDK are for?

Jean-luc_Picard

That would be assuming that the developers give beta testers the source code, which would make for very high security around beta tests because somebody could take that source code and use it as their own, thus stealing all of the developer's work quite easily...

Innovatology

No, there are ways for legit devs to do this. Testing, though perhaps a little more involved, should not be affected and will hopefully be more controlable for the dev.

UberschallSamsara

+1. Exactly. Devs will load to device using debug tokens and RIM will have a beta test solution. The "removing sideloading hurts devs" arguments are 100% bogus.

crwblyth

As a developer, debug tokens are much more work than compiling followed by sideloading. I absolutely hate debug tokens!

UberschallSamsara

All my debug token rituals are automated in batch scripts. I highly recommend you do the same.

dkonigs

Frankly, it makes me furious.

The real issue at hand is about enforcing draconian control over the software distribution channel. It is about developers losing the freedom to distribute their app as they see fit. It is about submitting to the whims of the platform vendor, and being willing to take the fall if they don’t like you for any reason.

The fact that so many people are accepting of this, or apologetic towards the platform vendor, downright disgusts me. If you take any of these discussions, replace “Apple” or “RIM” with “Microsoft” and change the platform in question from a mobile device to a “desktop PC”, just think about how many people would start screaming for blood.

Many years ago, Microsoft tended to make their offering the “default choice” on their platform. They didn’t necessarily lock out competitors. They just preferenced their own offering, so most consumers used it because it was good enough. This alone caused plenty of lawsuits and havoc. Now imagine if they outright forbid the sale and installation of any software that competed with theirs. How would you feel then?

Just look at all the shenanigans that Apple plays with their App Store. Frankly, the only argument I've ever heard in favor of it, is "you're free to switch platforms". Well, that's a bad argument, IMHO.

Innovatology

I've been an Android phone & tablet user for years. I wish Google DID take more control over the junk that appears on Android Market (now Google Play).

There's a difference between draconian control, as you put it, and ensuring quality and security. The App World approval process should not be used to prevent competition, and in fact RIM have greatly relaxed that in the past months, now allowing alternative browsers, chat clients and so on.

But in my opinion it should be used to guarantee security, reliability and platform stability. Especially for a business-centric brand like BlackBerry. We're not there yet, but plugging the sideloading hole - which is a development facility and never intended, promised or supported for consumers - is a step in the right direction.

jaitlyv

the moment they stop sideloading I am dumping my playbook and going to Android (Samsung Galaxy).

B_Eazy

Again another dumb reply to push away the few people we have with PB's helping the platform grow! Remember: no customers = no devs who wants to develop app for the platform! If you are a developper i doubt you want to reduce thd install base! Think about it before giving such replies!

kb2755

I can understand the posed risks in security, but I rely on some of my sideloaded apps for everyday use of my PlayBook.

At this point I see Android integration in 2.0 as a failure. We only have a handful of apps which officially made it into App World, they generally run pretty poorly, and if the initial intention was to bring Android Apps to the PlayBook, why are the risks of security just cropping up now? Saunders said he doesn't want App World to turn into the "cess pool" that is Android Market... but wasn't that the intention all along? To have the identical apps in our marketplace?

Honestly, the decision making process at RIM makes no sense to me whatsoever. Any of these implication should have been addressed in the primary stages, not after releasing it to the public in a mandatory update.

shemaree09

Very important!

It actually made the Playbook fun to use again because I could use apps that developers wouldn't bother to port over to App World anyway.

If the apps were available people wouldn't sideload them.

I would much rather have a Native app, but because the developers wont do it, we have to take it into our own hands

And its not like we're converting paid apps. The apps are free anyway!

araskin

I see it as a great sign that RIM is ready to take away side loading. The way I see it, it goes down like this:

1. RIM signs some awesome deal with content providers and app developers which really fills in the app gap. If they do this then they can comfortably take away the sideload feature and not worry about losing too many customers, since they have most of the apps that people want.

2. RIM does not fill the app gap but proceeds to take away side loading ability. This equals to RIM hammering the last nail in their own coffin.

So by this reasoning, I am hopeful that their willingness to take away side loading means that Option 1 is true. Yay RIM!!

shemaree09

im a huge RIM supporter, but I feel Option 2 will happen. :/

Its not like developers have been eager to port apps over, so why would they do it now?

lalston393

I agree that developers don't want to port apps over(some have said it outright), but RIM can't be that stupid, can they? They know they desperately need to hang on until BB10 come out, why do something that would make them irrelevant before then? As for myself, the reasons I bought the Playbook was the promise of Android apps being ported over, and the $199 price tag. App World right now is a failure. It offers crappy knock-offs of the popular apps Android, and IOS have, and the ones they do have, we have to pay while the other platforms get it for free. Sideloading is what's keeping this boat afloat.

shemaree09

Exactly! The Android App player in 2.0 and the $199 price tag hooked me too. I thought I would be able to open App World and see this huge selection of Android and cross platform apps devs eagerly ported over. But no.

Now, I just use my Playbook to surf the web and bridge to my phone because the Android player crashes daily.

The only reason im not too disappointed is because I only paid $199 :(

ryanlrobinson

I did it a couple of times. Generally feel like (for my purposes) it isn't worth it anyway.

elusivest

I doubt RIM will attract more customers imposing more restrictions. Regarding developers,take a look at Android with half a million apps for an OS with virtually no protection. Blocking sideloading because of piracy is a very weak argument, RIM might end losing more than gaining.

UberschallSamsara

Android has 500K apps because Google gives away Android, something that has resulted in handset maker and carrier support as a way to not cede the entire market to iOS. The result is a huge install base of devices. The 500K apps is a function of this huge population size. Piracy rates of 90% are not uncommon on Android. Android user attitudes seem to be "only chumps pay for software". But because of the huge install base, there's a huge number of devs willing to take a shot, only to find out that only chumps develop for Android, because users are spoiled and want everything for free. Sorry, but the "look at how many Android apps there are, therefore piracy arguments are bogus" argument is bogus.

It's common to see arguments from piracy apologists that "piracy claims are exaggerated", "there must be something wrong with your data collection methodology when you show a 90% piracy rate", etc. but then some of these very same piracy apologists will turn right around and say "I don't have hard data, but I'm sure piracy is negligible", or cite "study after study" showing that "piracy helps devs" because a bunch of people responded to a poll saying they bought more apps because they could pirate. WTF else are they going to say in an unverifiable poll response if they're benefiting from pirated apps? The hypocrisy is hilarious, and so is calling an unverifiable poll a "study".

michaelyoder

I haven't sideloaded yet... But, now that I know the issues it may cause some developers, I think that RIM is doing the right think by stopping it for the their sake. However, the best thing that can happen is for the developers to get on board and make available the apps that we all so badly want! If this helps them, BRING IT ON!

And, in turn, RIM needs to release some smashing good hardware soon that makes developers and consumers alike come begging on their hands and knees to come back to RIM!

For now yet, I'm a loyalist... but I'm finding it more difficult. For the sake of technology, I want RIM to win!

vespajet

I've sideloaded several apps, and other than Kindle (which is unlikely to ever get an official PlayBook app), two I wish there were PlayBook versions since they do have versions available for BlackBerry phones (Pandora & Weather Channel), and the other two (Google Latitude and Dolphin) I could care less about and I wish there was a Google Maps app for the PlayBook that is designed for the OS and not for the Android Player.

If app developers can develop versions for iOS, Android and the BlackBerry phone OS, why can't they also develop versions of similar apps designed for the iPad and Android-powered tablets for the PlayBook (without it being a bad port of the Android app)?

There are iOS apps that I would love to have a PlayBook version of, but considering some app developers won't even do an Android version of an iOS app, I'm not holding my breath.

schwechel

I'm in favor of removing the sideload option. I thought about doing it a few times, but decided against it. I know there are many tried and true stories out there for many apps, but how easy would it be for someone to create a malicious piece of code, disguise it as a legit app, and trick people into sideloading it. Then people will blame not only the coder, but more people will blame RIM for allowing this to happen. RIM is built on the cornerstone of security, and they have to protect their secure environment. RIM made it quite easy to port existing Android apps to their platform, so if companies want to port their app they are free to do so. We should not be porting their apps for them no matter how badly we want it.

QuIcKsIlV3r

I completely AGREE!!! +10000000000000000000

It's all about the security and unfortunately too many people don't see that the security can be severely crippled by allowing basically a "jailbreak" of sorts.

shemaree09

it should be at the risk of the Playbook owner.

I bought it, so I should be able to load whatever I want on it.

If i install some malicious code, then thats my fault.

Kiddo2050

Appreciate the question, but I'd add one category. I sideload only a few apps BUT THEY ARE IMPORTANT!

Thanks

walnuts1024

One of the features that I have enjoyed using BlackBerry is the ability to loads apps from places other than the app world. A great example for me would be kindle on the phone. Amazon does not have their app in app world. As the the rest of the CB community wouldn't this mean losing OS leaks for future phones?

B_Eazy

If RIM takes out sideloading, they can forget about me and another bunch of hardcore tech savy people who are supporting their platform!
The biggest issue I have is not only the apps we want and need are not available in App World, but on top of all, the apps that are available in App World cost all the way up to 5x more in App World than other platforms. (Angry Birds for example) And what RIM needs to understand is that the people like me who are loyal to their platform and that actually perform the sideloading are the ones talking the most and converting people to buy their playbooks and BB phones! If they start pushing us away, not only they will lose current customers, but they will also loose future sells cause I won't be vouching for them and I will definitely dump my PB and buy a windows 8 tablet!
The argument of piracy does not stand for the simple reason that if it was true, Microsoft would have stoped that on their platform as well! Has it ever stoped Microsoft from making their money and having devs make apps on Windows?? Nope!
I feel RIM is dying to be like Apple: a closed ecosystem! That is the specific reason why I will never buy any crapple product including the security issues they have!
So conclusion is: RIM you wanna lose more customers and drive away sells, take out sideloading and make your apps expensive as hell! Not only you won't have more apps and devs on your platform, but also you won't drive future sells cause the people who vouch for you and encourages others to buy your products in difficult time like this, are the people like me! Stop banding over to carriers and devs! Stop wearing the skirt and put on your pants! Open your ears and listen to what the public wants! Sideloading is one of the things we want to keep! Not taken away!
On a side note, I've always seen RIM being the balance between the totally opened ecosystem (Android) and the totally closed one (Apple). Stop taking away the stuff that makes you already good (sideloading, OTA on BB phones) and add what you are missing!

musical1806

Stop banding over to carriers and devs....... The whole point is that we want more devs AND we want more carrier support. You are a perfect example of what is wrong with sideloading.

Tell me of all the apps you have SL how many are now available in AW. Probably zero. And your SL hasnt encouraged any devs to step up have they. So you and your selfish elitist friends have done nothing for RIM or their consumers.

As for Your claim is that you help sell PB on the basis of the ability to sideload. What your saying is, is that you jumped on the bandwagon in Feb with the release of OS2, bought cheap and then stole other peoples work for your own gain. I am not going to use the pretty word of pirating cause to me thats the copying of an original NOT taking something against someones wishes, converting it and using it for youe own personal benefit, taking something that doesnt belong to you is stealing

I wonder if you and your "tech savy" friends feel that you are able to sell more units than if a major carrier and major devs get behind the PB? I think not.

So sell you PB, hopefully to a less selfish user and i bid you fairwell

B_Eazy

First and foremost, your an idiot! I never stated that i converted people because of sideloading! Very dumb of you to make this assumption!
Second i bought my PB full price on the first day it came out in april of last year! Future Shop was opening early in canada for the release and i was alone waiting in front of their doors to buy a 64gig PB bought full price!!! (close to 900$ for your info!!) YOU are the one taking advantage of RIM lowering their price which they are probably selling it almost at a lost! When you dont know jack sh** about people just voice your opinion in a respectful way! Very dumb of you to assume such things! Ive been with RIM since 2000 when their products werent even called Blackberry yet!

Third of all, i loaded apps like Places (Google maps) and Kindle! So i did not take away anything from devs and shouldnt have to feel bad or apologise!

All im saying is that apps in appworld are mostly crappy, especially the android ones, the most important ones are still not available, apps are very expensive as well compared to the other platforms! So RIM should make sure devs dont abuse on app prices to encourage people to buy and make sure that the apps we want and need are available!

And talking about hypocrites, i bet you havent paid for your copy of windows nor microsoft office!! So before bashing others you dont know, take a look at your self in the mirror cause your not a better person than me or anybody for that matter! DUM*A$$! Get loss!

UberschallSamsara

"The argument of piracy does not stand for the simple reason that if it was true, Microsoft would have stoped that on their platform as well! Has it ever stoped Microsoft from making their money and having devs make apps on Windows?? Nope!"

Bogus argument. Microsoft is at the scale were piracy can't bring them down. For a fledgling indy dev shop, the difference between making $2000 that you can put into making your next app better, vs. making $20 that just buys you dinner can be the difference between continuing dev work or just chucking it. The platform needs a mix of big names and indies. Ever tried to get a big name dev shop to implement a feature you want? Indies are small, fast, and hungry. Good things can happen when users support them.

B_Eazy

Between me and you, you just showed that argument stands because its a question of proportion! And basically, if you do make a quality app, we all know it will get downloaded and people will pay for it! In my case side loading hasnt stopped me from buying apps in app world! Basically if devs make quality apps, dont worry, customers will pay for it! And also, price it accordingly without being abusive on price! Also, i highly doubt that as a developer, you are living off doing only 1 PB app! That would already be a bad business decision! And that is for any platform! You can not live off 1 app on 1 platform to make you eat! If so, you need to follow some business courses!

UberschallSamsara

I think you misunderstand me. The basic message is that for a small indy trying to bootstrap a side business from effectively zero, a 90% piracy rate vs. a 50% piracy rate can make or break it. I doubt any PlayBook developers are making a decent income off of PB apps at this point ... which is exactly the point: this is a fledgling ecosystem (i.e. it is not Microsoft), and all the players need to contribute if it's going to take off. That means devs stepping up to provide apps, RIM stepping up to deliver the platform, and users stepping up to allowing devs to monetize, instead of bringing over the Android entitlement mentality of just stiffing everyone.

If the users just pout and stamp their feet and say I want free rein to pirate away like on Android, it just validates for devs that PlayBook is a dead end.

Umm Yeah

I've sideloaded a couple of apps. One works fine and the second, which was listed as working fine on PB, did not work at all. Both of the apps are free on Android but for developers who are looking to sell paid apps on Android, it would severely undermine their ability to make money from their work and hurt RIM's reputation with those developers who RIM is desperate to get developing for BB10. While I am not happy that RIM might be a bottleneck to getting the latest app, I do like knowing that the app will work on PB and BB10 in the way the developer intended. It's a trade off but I don't like sideloading an app only to discover I get limited usefulness from it.

mckillio

I could care less, the apps I side loaded barely even worked anyways. Can't you test using the SDK/NDK?

maxiobiz

I certanily won't be happy. I kept my Playbook collecting dust until the recent OS upgrade. I love the BB, and feel that there is very little it can't do now. However, I use the Amazon Kindle app a lot, and removing the sideload option would eliminate that app. I would have to table my device yet again.

BBHermes

"removing the sideload option would eliminate that app"

Actually AFAIUI you will be able to keep what you already have, just not be able to add more.

musical1806

Big RIM supporter are you...... Amazon promised the app. Then they reneged on their promise. After which they highjack the PB design.

So what you do is force their app on anyway and spend your money @ Amazon via an Android app.

Now your moaning cause you cant keep avoiding and supporting the PB ecosystem and OS.

PLEASE stop with the Kindle argument people.

Just out of curiosity what tablet were you using whilst you PB was collecting dust? Maybe thats the tablet for you. Sell the PB and move on.

edyb

Yeah, you have a good point! Amazon is competing directly with Playbook at both price-point and also platform/hardware. Don't expect Amazon to run to port a Kindle app to your Playbook any time soon.

Maybe Kobo has an agreement with RIM that they would be the only bookstore on the platform for a certain period of time since launch (in exchange for having them develop a native app)?

Besides, you can still use the Kindle Cloud Reader (https://read.amazon.com/) so who cares? Yes I know it's not the same as a native Kindle app, but you can still use it and take your books with you because you can choose to store them locally on the device.

Apelles123

It's pity KF has a great market and rotten Harware, PB has great hardware and a rotten market. PB is so much better than KF ,which is why I have it, the market is just so frustrating! In terms of performance the KF is a Deaux Chevaux vs a Porsche

maxiobiz

take it easy. I'm not supporting anyone here. I'm trying to maximize the use of my investment. At the end the day, it's tool. The more uses you find for your tablet, the happier you'll be. There is no one product out there that is 100% perfect. They all have their pros and cons. I am not happy about Amazon's move, or lack there of, but I'm not about to stop using the app if I can make it work.

No one is moaning here. The question was asked if removing side loading is important to me. I expressed a concern, nothing more.

And for the record, looks like it's a squashed issue anyway...

thurask

If Valve adds Steam to App World, then I'd be happy.

That won't happen, so the PlayBook needs to keep sideloading.

pushfan

Why the rush into another thread. RIM promised an answer to yesterdays in a "couple of days". Of course, RIM days have proven to be like dog years, no relation to the real world.

TLS2000

If they remove sideloading I'll completely switch to Android. I've already dumped my BlackBerry smartphone in recent months.

Taking away features after you start selling a product is moronic. We want MORE features, not less! I don't want to be forced to use Kobo when I have Kindle as an option if it's sideloaded. I don't want to be forced to buy Kobo books when I can sideload a bunch of FREE books that are online to Kindle.

Jared, there are no benefits (ZERO) for the customer here. Stop trying to spin it as having any kind of benefit. It won't get developers to suddenly jump on the PlayBook platform.

RIM makes bad decision after bad decision and I'm getting a little tired of CB trying to spin this as a positive thing.

musical1806

Bye then. IF Android apps are so important to you, i have to say you bought the wrong tablet. SL may have been a bonus but it was just that a bonus. Never offered never promised.

rppaul

If there was a more robust selection in AppWorld there would be no reason for sideloading.

Apelles123

Yes sideloading is done out of frustration ! People would not go to the trouble if decent apps for ordinary functions were available. Appworld also has to differentiate between apps and content. Books and cartoons are not apps. Right now Appworld is looking bleak and barren in terms of apps that have a function and a purpose. Most seem to be placeholders. Hopefully significant changes will occur after Orlando Fla.

jpassarella

I resisted side-loading at first. Figured I'd wait for legit stuff in the app world. Then I tried side-loading and, after I found out how easy it was, it got me excited about the PlayBook again. I have a feeling a lot of others experienced this same renewed excitement. To shutdown side-loading without getting the top apps into app world will be another blow against the PlayBook. Because of RIM's track record, I have no faith that these apps will appear legitimately in app world. Side-loading is the only way we'll have them. And it feels like the death-spiral will begin again once they shut down this alternate avenue that lets us have some app-goodness.

If RIM wants to see what apps users really want, they can visit this site (I do, daily) and get download counts. And yes, the Kindle app is right up there:

http://goodereader.com/apps/blackberry-playbook-android-apps/playbook-an...

Innovatology

As a developer, I wouldn't mind sideloading were it not for the fact that it makes piracy so much easier. I really don't care what people put on their devices. But when more people install a pirated version of our app than even the official free trial version from App World, it does not encourage us to invest in developing new apps and improving existing ones.

For that reason I am more likely to develop quality apps on secure platforms such as BlackBerry (once the piracy issue has been tackled) and IOS than on a free-for-all platform like Android.

So what will it be? Do you want first-class apps developed specifically for the PlayBook and BB10 with support, updates and trustworthy code signatures?

Or do you want second-rate repackaged Android apps that are often unreliable, downloaded from a shady website, signed by, well, who knows, with no support or automatic updates?

I know what I would choose.

Jon Webb (Files & Folders)

edyb

I am also a developer, and understand the issues with sideloading on both sides of the fence. I like being able to easily test my apps with nothing but a debug token installed, and throwing every build into my Playbook easily for testing using the sideloading feature.

However, I also understand the issue with downloading BAR torrents of Native Apps as well as Android ports. Free or not, it is piracy. It also makes it difficult for RIM and developers to "count" downloads accurately and therefore report and manage issues properly. For example, if some security issues are found with an app, there is no way to update or notify users with sideloaded versions of those apps. Only officially-installed AppWorld apps are tracked by RIM and able to notify you of an update or issue.

I hope they keep some sideloading available for devs for easy testing at least. People say test on the emulator, but I prefer the actual Playbook. Emulator takes up a lot of resources and slower than a native Playbook install, and ultimately testing on the actual device is 100% accurate.

By what I read on the forums, I think we will satisfy 80% of people who want to keep sideloading available IF we bring them MAJOR APPS to AppWorld for free that are available on the other platforms, like Kindle and so on. Hopefully that will happen before the sideload is closed, or people will have no "work-arounds" and will dump the Playbook for an Android tablet, which will be worse for the platform and the rest of us developers will have a smaller user base.

UberschallSamsara

+1. Folks who think all software should just somehow magically be free live in some kind of dream world of alternative economic reality.

Software is written by people. All people need food, shelter, and clothing, and have 24 hours in a day in which to secure those things. Folks with a smartphone or tablet in their hands are probably better off economically than 80% of the planet. They don't need to anonymously coerce charity out of software developers.

Markets aren't perfect, but they work pretty well. Paying customers will find that developers will respond to market demand. Piracy distorts markets. If I write a junk app in a market that has no piracy, I should well expect to hear crickets chirping instead of the cash register ringing, and that would be nothing more than the market functioning as it should by telling me my product is junk. If I write a great app in a market that is infested with piracy, I may well still hear only the sound of crickets chirping, even if millions of people are getting the economic value of my asking price out of the app, without having paid for it. I think it's completely rational that the market doesn't care about me as an individual developer. What's broken in a piracy infested market is the market mechanism of rewarding and encouraging producers to create what consumers find valuable. It's not about individual consumers or producers, but about a market that functions efficiently and fairly.

If a developer creates an app that provides $1 worth of economic value for 500,000 people, then it's completely fair for him to make $500,000, and folks grumbling about that developer "making too much" should download the SDK and write their own app that provides $1 of value to 500,000 people. It would be a much better use of their time.

CaptainGoodnight

As a paid user of your application (daily use, couldn't work without it) I appreciate this position, but users have no recourse when the native app is sub-par or non-existent. We can ask the developers for a release date. We can wait forever for RIM and the developer to work it out. Or we can go get the Android app. Evernote is my current bug-a-boo. I rely on it. I pay a premium subscription so they keep developing it. I understand that doesn't address your piracy point, but there are sideloading use cases that are not black and white.

UberschallSamsara

I totally agree that nothing is black and white, btw.

Skeevecr

While certain apps are only available via sideloading, it is a vital feature for me, but if rim can manage to address those absences then I wouldn't mind too much if they removed sideloading because the important thing for me is to be able to use my tablet for the stuff that matters to me rather than worrying too much about where I got the apps from.

VerryBestr

If the goal is really to protect developers who are developing apps for the PlayBook, then RIM should do that instead of prohibiting the flexibility of side-loading.

RIM could give developers of non-Android apps a way verifying that their apps were indeed signed and downloaded from the app store. There must be a way to do this, so that apps cannot be ripped off and sideloaded--for example, a unique signature for each PB which locks an app to that PB. This would continue to permit sideloading of apps which will never make it into the app store (for example, VLC, the various emulators, etc).

I'm sure that there are ways for Android app developers to insure that their apps won''t run on the PB Android player (or at least, won't run correctly). RIM could formalize an app player kill mechanism (some little action, legal in real Android, that would be detected by the PB app player). That would allow developers concerned about piracy on the PB to stop it, while allowing sideloading of those Android apps, especially the many free apps, whose developers just don't care.

Snipperdo17

I have sideloaded many apps but I would rather it be disabled to allow for more apps being developed by the actual devs. Get rid of side loading and don't look back.

viking67

I've sideloaded a few apps, but don't do it often. But I do use a few free android apps that work well on my Playbook and I would hate to give them up. Unfortunately they're made by the Playbook's competitors (Google and Kindle) and as such, who knows when/if they'll ever come to the Playbook. I'd miss them greatly.

Everything else is meh...

BBHermes

"read the benefits, and think of how it may negatively affect you"

Wow, that's some slick stacking of the deck at work! So the move is ipso facto beneficial (benefits presented as objective facts), but, oh, there may be a few of YOU who are negatively affected (subjective feelings).

Whatever my own opinion on the matter. this is a not-so-cool way to frame it!

:-)

glamrlama

It came on my PB as well. Where are my replacements for: VBAMpb
Playtorrent
Kindle
Etc.

I use Sideload to access apps that are unavailable by another means. Get them into app world and I have no issues.

Why code something if RIM can just say "No app world for you!"?

For example; people run emulators. Without sideloading this would likely no longer be available on PB. Why should RIM decide what someone runs on the platform?

cputoys

The poll is as stupid as RIM's business model for the pb. What is missing is "I've sideloaded a few apps but don't want it removed in case I need it." I have had the experience of downloading a free app to try and once I found I liked it purchased the upgrade. App world happily processes my payment and... Nothing, nada, zilch. I contacted the dev. He contacted app world. No go. Nothing. I sent them both the PayPal confirmation. No way app world can fix. The dev finally gave up fighting with them and emailed me the bar file. App world is stupid. Crippling a device in the hope that more people will develop for it and buy it is moronic. If they do this I can see no way to stay with the platform. Anyone up for a class action? I'm going to need a refund.

B_Eazy

I so agree! That is also one of the reason for which sideloading shouldnt be taken out! Others might tell you that you might be loading an app that is not secure! Im all for security but it is my right to decide what to load on the machine I bought! If im putting my self at risk, it is my responsibility! No one else! I might as well not buy a PB and just rent it from RIM!

canuckvoip

All I have to say is...
PLEASE FIX EVERNOTE!!!!
Please?
The dev is encouraging users of the native app (which broke under OS2) to sideload the Android version!
C'mon guys... either fix the native version or port the Android version that I had to sideload. I had no choice but to sideload this.
Help me help you!
:>)

cputoys

Yeah, well the pb Evernote was not so hot before 2.0. It is amazing to me that we are even having this discussion. It's like RIM actually wants to put this device on the shelf and admit defeat. CB is NO help at all sucking up as they do these days. Big shame.

runkle55

It's real simple. I need Evernote, Dropbox and Docs To Go (or a similar office suite) to do my work if I am using my Playbook. If those apps do not do what I want them to so I can get my work done (Docs To Go and Evernote do not work and Dropbox is not available), then I will side load them. All the hand wringing and moralizing is meaningless when I need to get my work done.

musical1806

Or you could have done some research and bought a device that suited your needs........

Ever bought a car without an engine? I have one for sale, its cheap and looks good do you want it?

B_Eazy

I dont understand you at all! Every reply i see from you, you are actually encouraging people to leave the RIM PB! But with all logic, did you know that RIM needs every customers they can get at the moment? Also did you know that the more customers buy PB's, the more devs will want to develop for the platform? So you telling us "Bye then" or other such things in your previous posts does not help at all! Your arrogance with people having PB's and just voicing their opinion is not helping anyone for that matter!

Less customers = less apps = less money for devs = less devs!

Just thought id let you know in case you were too blind to see this relation!

UberschallSamsara

While the way he is saying it might get under your skin, my 2c is that folks who think they are contributing to an ecosystem by buying a tablet below cost due to RIM's misfires at product launch, and then sideloading it with all free apps, might perhaps have an exaggerated sense of their contribution to that ecosystem. Everybody would like to think they are the linchpin. Nobody is the linchpin. Folks who want to be part of a virtuous cycle should contribute - buy an app that has value for you, something. This whole concern came up long ago on the dev forums when the Android player was announced: will the Android player attract over a bunch of the kind of folks we see on Android blogs with an entitlement mentality towards everything? We'll see how it plays out; some of the comments in these threads seem to support those concerns.

B_Eazy

I understand your concern and your opinion and actually do agree with you on the points you just stated. Unfortunately RIM has been tricked many times into thinking that doing something like this would address devs concern and bring more quality apps and the one we want to the platform. Reality is that it didnt! Im afraid that not only those people are lying to RIM and their customers but also customers will be leaving the platform because it either takes to long or it actually will never come! And if it does, it wont have a justifiable price to be purchased cause they will make it too expensive compared to the other platforms!

CaptainGoodnight

You know, these "you should have done more research" replies are insulting to everyone's intelligence. Evernote broke after the release of OS 2. At what point should I have divined that future? How about the crippled Docs2Go implementation? Where would it be obvious that RIM's branch of that app would be unable to do basic spreadsheet work, or keep the history of all changes in every document without telling me?

I did my research. I bought early and regretted my purchase with good grace as small updates trickled out. I gave up using PB to do serious work on documents and just made tiny edits in a pinch. I waited for Evernote to drop and lived with their poorly implemented app. When it broke 78 days ago, I side-loaded a working version--and as a premium subscriber, they still declined to answer my question about when we could look forward to a working native app. Just look at how much better the Android KOBO app is compared to the native version and tell me why we should accept badly developed apps when FREE alternatives from the same vendor exist?

I will be disappointed to have to give up apps I use multiple times a day if RIM shuts off this capability, and I'll keep hoping my initial optimism is rewarded with some business features BUT I'm tired of being lectured to by apologists for RIM.

anggaguyer

To protect app developers is a noble act. However completely removing the ability to sideload is crap. From a developers point of view, take "draw something" as an example. They released 2 versions of its app, a free and a paid version. As a result, it has been downloaded over 35mio times worldwide and zynga bought "the company OMGPOP" for a price of USD 200mio.
I do not support piracy, but you have to admit that piracy boosts popularity of a certain app.
So back to draw something, the basic free app, consits of 4 colours, basic brushes and a basic amount of words. In the paid version, you get more colours, more words and more brush options. So there are ppl who are perfectly happy with the basic version and others who will pay for its additional feature, thus resulting in high popularity and a fairy tale success!

So my message to app developers: make your app free to download but have consumers pay for additional features. This way you prevent your app being cracked (prevention only to a certain extent)

My message to RIM: dont remove the sideloading ability. Piracy is a problem/side effect ghats comes with the digital age. Think more of how to cooperate with it instead of trying to ban piracy completely. iOS accepts the existence of cydia and installous, android based OS can be rooted, so why cant RIM? Its human nature, the more you protect something from piracy, the more it will get breached/cracked.

B_Eazy

Im not for piracy and want to keep sideloading! But your points are right on! Amen to that!

Kiddo2050

Simple question @alecsanders where is the New York Times app for my playbook? It's only one of the most read and most respected newspapers in the world. Did you forget about trying to get them to write and app for the playbook? Hell RIM write the app yourselves.

Yes I sideloaded the app but ONLY because it isn't on App World.

greatwiseone

Thanks Kevin on getting the clarification over sideloading from RIM. I think this is one of those situations where Alec probably shouldn't have spent that much time talking about it on Twitter (and should've left the topic alone) until RIM has formally decided the strategy. It creates media confusion and now every tech blog and website is saying that the new OS update will remove sideloading....

irsan

Sideloading or Nosideloading...who cares if RIM still deaf for hearing complain from their customer about worst apps/games with ridiculous price compared with others.
Why they won't be developing Playbook versions? It's not only about Piracy....Try to look apple piracy..its much much more then PB, but why developers still want to develope for them?
Apple is more profitable then PB, android on PB is sucks and

WE NEED NATIVE APP NOT ANDROID CONVERTED !!!

t-jay87

RIM has to work more about app everybody love their playbooks but we don't have any Im client like msn or yahoo aim Skype we need something like that so playbook will beat all other tablets think about it... we have a 5mp camera on the front and we can't use it for video chat we our family

BB_makes_it_happen

Maybe sideloading provides some leverage to us PBers.

Let's face it we PBers believe we are using some fantastic hardware.

If a developer elects to ignore our demands, ie provide us access to their product - then maybe sideloading is one means to demostrate our requirements.

On the flip side - it may be useful for RIM to provide us with the current status of their testing/approval process of applications available.

glassofpinot

Blocking side loading is the best answer for what matters.
Sure, some of us may not be happy that an App is not yet available for BB, and we'll have to pressure developers.
But the alternative does not really help the BB total cause, it only helps pirates or whatever PC name that you want to use.
(not a developer, and yes I have side loaded)

catwoman66

Sideloaded from the start only to find most apps crash, freeze etc., only have 1 side loaded app now Words with friends, but I shall probably get rid of that too as can play it on my Android device, smoothly. Not worried about RIM taking the option away, but they should step up and get these apps officially on to the PlayBook, something they should have done straight away. Why can't they just get it right!!!??? Ok concentrate on corporate what they are good at, but get at least the main native apps every other platform has for damn sake and cut out the excuses, people are tired of waiting and begging!

lebird

If RIM hopes to survive on the premise their tablet is secure well good luck. I had bought a $50 android but after finding out it wanted to access all of my info just to be able to get a wallpaper, I installed Skype, cleared my profile for the Market and that's now it's only job and it will come with me on my trips and why? Because the 64G Playbook I just bought does not have a way to call a phone. I just wasted $7.00 to find that out....

Who does RIM think will waste time on a machine no one will buy in the future? They seem to think just because the had a great phone at one time give them a reason to think people will remember. It's what have you done for me lately world for tablets. I like the security of the Playbook but Apple is killing it and its clients don't seem to be concerned.

Pray tell, why would I use a Playbook to surf when I can use my laptop and its 15" screen? Both need WiFi.

matt_c

Sideloading is part of the reason I bought a Playbook! Most Android app developers aren't going to bother jumping through the hoops of testing for the PB, so I'd rather it was possible to sideload a few apps that I need on the PB without the developer's involvement.

If RIM made the Android Market available on the PB & allowed you to install the APK via a secure install process, then that'd be perfect!

UberschallSamsara

Sorry but PlayBook is not and was never advertised as an Android tablet. Lots of folks seem to have bought it just because RIM misfired the product launch and had to cut prices. Distributing Android apps without developer permission is breaking copyright. Folks who bought PlayBook at fire sale prices just to sideload free Android apps aren't contributing anything to this ecosystem, except perhaps comedy, as they thump their chests and proclaim their great and glorious martyrdom.

danko9420

All I really want to say is, show me the apps I want and I will show you my money. Browsing through the appworld after I first purchased my Playbook and there was one, count it ONE, app that I would and did pay money for. Definetley need more selection... I can't buy something that isn't there.

Whooops... didn't realize this thread was over 40 days dead... my bad