For those who have a “jailbroken” or “rooted” Android phone some bad news has popped up. Google is banning rooted devices from the Android movie market. It may be a temporary problem.
Rooting an Android smartphone may allow you to get some hardware upgrades before everyone else, but now it seems it will restrict you from renting or playing movies. Just like Apple, the marketplace is now restricted for jailbroken Android devices. Google states in unequivocal terms that those who want to try to play a movie on a “rooted device” will get the “Error 49″ message. This message states; “Failed to fetch license for [movie title]“.
Now major mobile sites are asking the question; “Is blocking rooted devices from the Android Movie Market compatible with the idea of openness ?”. Google is the one who created the “Open Handset Alliance” back in 2007. It was developed specifically for the Android “open source” project. Now we see companies like Samsung developing their own mobile operating systems. HTC is thinking about doing the same. Rooted Android devices are truly open and under the control of those who use them, instead of being under control from outside companies.
Google states that; “Rooted devices are currently unsupported due to requirements related to copyright protection.”. That means they are covering themselves from being sued by the movie companies. If Android seems to be the point of contention with the movie companies, they are ready, willing and able to sue. For now, the Motorola Xoom with the newest 3.1 version of Android has “legal” access to the Google movie service. So do regular PCs. But those with Android 2.2 will also be receiving access to movie rentals very soon. June will see the addition of Android 3.1 to Acer, ASUS and some other tablets. They will also have access to the Android movie market.
The Error 49 roadblock is temporary until some developer finds a way around it. Most, if not all, new Apple iOS versions are jailbroken even before they are “officially” released, so it is plain that this Android Error 49 message will be taken care of soon. The movie companies are intent on maintaining copyright protection over their films, but technology is presenting a challenge for them. Expect this “developer against movie company” scenario to receive even more attention in the near future, because big bucks are involved. For now, it is “round one”, and the jailbreakers are losing.