On Android, “incompatible” is not the same as “won’t work”

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One thing I’ve discovered with Android that is driving me nuts is how random some of the compatibility classifications are. Time and time again I’ve found apps that Market is claiming won’t work with my device, just to find that it works perfectly once I find the .apk-file somewhere else and install it anyways. The screenshot above is one example, where the app runs absolutely perfectly. Some work perfectly, some close to perfectly. I still haven’t found any apps that I’ve installed despite them being incompatible that are actually more broken than some apps the Market claim are compatible, which says a lot.

This seemingly arbitrary classification is helping to fragment Android even more and has got to stop. Market is a stupid system, in the sense that it’s actually not intelligent enough to properly classify apps as compatible or not. As such, Google has got to let people decide if they want to try the apps, instead of making that choice for them. With a 15 minute uninstall window to get a full refund, that really shouldn’t pose any problems unless they’re afraid apps will actually break the devices.

Even if it is possible to get the apps elsewhere and install that way (at least for free apps), you lose the update checker when you do it that way. It feels like such a waste to have people out there who can’t use your apps simply because some system is identifying it as not compatible. Definitely something that Google has to get a grip on, both for the sake of users and developers.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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