Google Tells CyanogenMod: Installer Doesn’t Belong In Our Store

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Just two weeks after being placed on the Play store, the CyanogenMod installer app is taken down after a Google request

CyanogenMod, the body behind a popular open source Android replacement distribution, has been told its installer application has no place on the Google Play store as it violates developer terms.

The group voluntarily removed the app, which was only placed on the Play store two weeks ago, having been told by Google it would be removed otherwise, according to CyanogenMod.

CyanogenMod awaits ‘favourable resolution’

CyanogenModThe CyanogenMod Installer placed on Google Play did not directly install the Android distribution. Instead, it initiated the Android Debug Bridge (ADB), which is required before installing new firmware on an Android device, gains root access and takes the user to a desktop installer. From there CyanogenMod can be downloaded.

CyanogenMod complied with Google’s request as it awaits “a more favourable resolution”. The problem stems from the fact that rooting a phone can void a phone manufacturer’s warranty.

“After reaching out to the Play team, their feedback was that though [the] application itself is harmless, since it ‘encourages users to void their warranty’, it would not be allowed to remain in the store,” a blog post from CyanogenMod  read.

“We’ve seen hundreds of thousands of installations of the application, proving the demand for more choice, and that the need for an alternative Android experience exists. As we work through this new hurdle, we will continue to make available and support the installation process via our own hosting services.

“Fortunately, Android is open enough that devices allow for installing applications via ‘Unknown Sources’ (ie sideload). Though it’s a hassle and adds steps to the process, this does allow us a path forward, outside of the Play Store itself.”

Google had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

CyanogenMod has continued to expand over the past year, officially becoming a company and receiving $7 million in series A funding earlier this year. It has seen its OS downloaded over 7.5 million times.

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