Android tethering apps pulled from Market

Google has reportedly pulled tethering apps from the Android Market.  According to at least one developer, who contributed to the WiFi Tether for Root Users app, Google are citing their distribution agreements with carriers as the prompt for removal:
"Google enters into distribution agreements with device manufacturers and Authorized Carriers to place the Market software client application for the Market on Devices. These distribution agreements may require the involuntary removal of Products in violation of the Device manufacturer’s or Authorized Carrier’s terms of service" Google Developer Distribution Agreement
That agreement, when taken with T-Mobile's terms of service that do not permit tethering, has given Google reason to pull the software from official distribution.  It's a decision that has raised more questions over just how "open" the Android platform is:
"Android phones are supposed to be released for other carriers in the future, right? Does this mean that apps in the Market have to adhere to the ToS for only T-Mobile, even when other carriers sign on? Will all apps have to adhere to the ToS for every carrier that supports Android phones?" Seth, WiFi Tether for Root Users contributor
Given that Android-based devices are already available unlocked, it seems unfair that those users - who may be with carriers that permit tethering, or have already paid for the functionality - should not have access to the software.  In addition, some of the apps reportedly banned do not solely offer carrier tethering (e.g. sharing the cellular data connection via USB or WiFi) but Bluetooth tethering, where the cellphone acts as a bridge between a WiFi broadband connection and a Bluetooth-equipped device that lacks its own WiFi. One potentially unwelcome outcome could be carrier-specific versions of the Android Market, where users would have only partial access to the full app catalog depending on what their carrier allowed. [Thanks Andon!]

FriendMobilizer Facebook Android client

A new Facebook application for Android has been launched by Macrospecs.  FriendMobilizer offers status control, notifications, photo access and more, all with what Macrospecs describe as minimal memory footprint.  There's also integration of photo uploads into your Android phone's standard menu options, with a new "FriendMobilizer" choice in the "Share picture via" dialog.  Images can then be captioned and commented on, with uploads happening in the background. FriendMobilizer is available through the Android Market now.  The company also offers free versions for Windows Mobile devices. [gallery]

HTC Magic clears FCC with T-Mobile USA branding

The HTC Magic has passed the FCC bearing T-Mobile USA branding, seemingly confirming that the touchscreen smartphone will be the second Android device the carrier offers in the US.  No official name has been attached to the Magic by T-Mobile - the original G1 was named by the carrier (HTC distribute the handset as the HTC Dream) and it seems likely the Magic will end up as the G2. Launched back at CTIA in February, as a Vodafone exclusive in Europe, HTC had already told Android Community that they would be happy to work with a US carrier.  A T-Mobile branded version of the device was then used in a Google demonstration, prematurely confirming the carrier's intentions. As for specifications, the Magic has a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, 7.2Mbps HSDPA, WiFi and GPS.  For live photos and our demo videos from CTIA, head over here. [via Engadget]

Adobe Flash technology hitting Android soon?

After Andy Rubin demonstrated Flash working on the T-Mobile G1 last November, the assumption has been that the technology would arrive on Android sooner rather than later.  Five months on, and there's still no sign from Adobe; however, embedded devices company Bsquare are claiming to be working with "a global, tier-one carrier" to bring Flash technology to the Android platform. Bsquare has apparently already ported the Flash Player to over 100 embedded devices.  However this time around the company is porting "Flash technology" not the player itself, to Android.  It's unclear exactly what this means for end-user functionality, and Bsquare are keeping quiet on the details. Right now there are more questions than answers, and with no timescale, software details or even a hint of which carrier the company is working with (though the obvious guess would be T-Mobile) it's hard to get excited.  Bsquare are an authorized distributor of the Adobe Flash Player and SDK, though, so we'd rate this a couple of notches above vaporware at least.

ShopSavvy gets real-time local stock checking

ShopSavvy is one of those apps that, once you'd lived with it on the G1, makes you miss the Android platform if you switch to rival devices.  The shopping comparison software is about to get even better, however, with the inclusion of real-time inventory checking for a number of major retailers. In a nutshell, ShopSavvy allows you to "scan" a barcode on a book, DVD or other item in a store, and search for that product both at online retailers and in nearby bricks & mortar shops.  To do that it uses the G1's integrated GPS, figuring out where you are and which retailers are physically nearby.
"Directing shoppers to local stores is a core feature of ShopSavvy, and being able to present our users with up-to-the-minute, local inventory across hundreds of product categories and merchants adds huge value for our users.  Our recent enhancements to ShopSavvy’s location awareness make our new relationship with Krillion even more compelling for ShopSavvy users" Alexander Muse, co-founder, Big in Japan
Now, thanks to a deal with Krillion, ShopSavvy can not only check whether a store usually carries that item but whether it has inventory in stock.  We're not sure exactly how many stores are covered by the new system, but Krillion claim over 40,000 US locations; we're presuming that means the European version of ShopSavvy won't have this new functionality. [via jkOnTheRun]
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