Android phones to include ‘kill switch’

Apple has gotten some flak in recent weeks for blacklisting apps from the iPhone App Store and setting up a system that remotely disables apps on users’ iPhones. According to IDG News, Google could follow a similar path with its Android platform. Here’s the skinny:

In the Android Market terms of service, Google expressly says that it might remotely remove an application from a user’s phone. “Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement … in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion,” the terms, linked to from the phone, read.

With that said, IDG News points out that Google is taking a friendlier approach than Apple. The search giant is informing users in its terms of service, whereas Apple initially kept its “kill switch” under lid. Also, Google says if it does disable an app on a user’s device, it will make “reasonable efforts to recover the purchase price of the product … from the original developer on your behalf.” Finally, Google’s kill switch sounds like a necessity, since the Android Market will be open to any developer and could therefore play host to malware. By contrast, Apple vets third-party applications before they hit the iPhone App Store.

The first Android cell phone, T-Mobile’s G1, is on track to arrive in U.S. stores on October 22. The device will cost $179, or 20 bucks less than the iPhone. (Thanks to TR reader Cassidy for the heads-up.)

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