Augen gets caught using unauthorized Google apps, but they aren’t alone

Augen_mid Over the weekend it suddenly came to the attention of LAPTOP magazine that Augen, the company behind the bargain-priced GenTouch78 Android tablet, was using the Android Market and other core Google apps without the big G's blessing. Besides the lukewarm reviews the GenTouch has been receiving around the web, Augen now has to deal with the embarrassment of being caught red-handed while peddling their "bootleg" software in a major retailer across the US.

In a follow-up response to the original story, Augen CEO Gary Gofman tried to deflect some of the blame towards Google, but ultimately claimed the inclusion of the Google Mobile Services Application Suite was an oversight that shouldn't have happened. He went on to say that all future shipments will have the apps in question removed until an agreement can be reached with Google.

Even more interesting is the fact that just about every Chinese Android tablet out there uses the same basic Android 1.6 firmware with bundled apps, and it's very evident once you examine the screenshots and read through forums such as those over at Slatedroid, but only Augen has been singled out because of their distribution here in the US. My EKEN M001 7-inch that I purchased for $99 from DealExtreme a few months ago has the same Google apps as the GenTouch78, including the Android Market, but it's almost unusable due to the hoops that must be jumped through to download apps. Each time the Market is launched, it won't start downloads without first clearing the data and cache in 'Google Apps' and 'Market'. Once this is done, all Google user login info must be setup once again, and then maybe a few downloads will work, but in the meantime, 8-10 "phantom" downloads will start on their own, as if being remote controlled from elsewhere.

Google should really clamp down harder on unauthorized use of their core apps, because it might lead to a bitter taste of the Android experience for many new users, especially those who are interested in a sub-$300 tablet instead of a smartphone.

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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6 thoughts on “Augen gets caught using unauthorized Google apps, but they aren’t alone

  • Sooooo, people want Google’s market to function more like.. (wait for it)… iTunes?

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    the basic problem is that google is parading market as a integral part of android every chance they get, but do not mention that the hardware companies will have to jump thru some hoops before they can get market approval (like adding various sensors and other hardware that push up the price of the device).

    end result is that you have bloggers and such getting hold of android running devices thats outside the “norm” defined by google, and that go scratching their heads when it do not come with market.

    the chinese dont care, as they aim for either internal market or direct export, meaning they get around the risk of being dragged into a US court to have their wares stopped at the border and a compensation demanded.

  • Google should make the hardware requirements for having the “Google Experience” public so I know whether or not to believe a company when they say future updates will enable Google apps. The whole open source aspect causes too much differentiation (mainly lack of features) in Android devices.

    Restricting Google apps to hardware that meet requirements is a good thing. It forces manufacturers to meet these requirements. Consumers will happy because they know what they’re getting and their favorite apps will be compatible. Developers will be happy since they don’t have to make many versions of their apps to work on different devices or get hate responses for crashing or not working on non-approved devices.

    There should be a balance between Apple’s “our hardware only” and Google’s current “anything that can load it” policies.

  • It’ll definitely be interesting to see if Augen can follow through with their promises and get the firmware updated so the device works better.

    Endel, did you buy one of the Gentouch 78’s from Kmart?


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