AT&T Does It Again: No Unsigned Apps on the HTC Aria Either


With the announcement of the HTC Aria, many hoped it would mark a new chapter in AT&T’s handling of Android. Their first Android offering was the locked-down Motorola Backflip that suffered from an OS blocked from installing apps through sources other than the marketplace. If you thought perhaps AT&T would wise up, you may not want to read what comes next.


The HTC Aria will suffer the same fate, so any hope of installing unsigned apps such as developer betas or release previews (or any other software you might obtain through a channel other than the Android Market) is gone. Sure, realistically most everyday users won’t miss the functionality at all, but for those that want to get the most out of the open platform that is Android, AT&T isn’t making it easy. Oh, you’re also still getting stuck with AT&T’s first-party bloatware. Don’t bother trying to uninstall any of it because you can’t  (though I suppose that is a bit easier to live with).

The question is will this ever change with their handsets, or are all future releases doomed to this sort of tampering?

[via MobileCrunch]

Kevin Krause
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  1. *slaps forehead*

    Buying my N1 for AT&T keeps looking smarter and smarter…

  2. By by ATT! I’m ready to make the move to Verizon. They act as if we are doing them a favor by using their service.

  3. TOLD YOU!!!!

  4. Well, shit. My plan was to wait and see what AT&T really did with Android before I made my decision on an upgrade path. Looks like I am either going to go to Sprint or get a Nexus One.

    Why does AT&T want to load the phones with this crap? I think we should flood their Facebook page with negative comments. Childish yes, but am very angry that they think it’s ok to lock an open platform with their proprietary junk but not let us have the option of removing it. Well done, AT&T. Damn- looks like Sprint is sold out on the EVO. Just my luck.

  5. Ok.. went to the site where they have the phone.. did not read anything about uninstallable bloatware.. Waaay back, when AT&T was pretty much on the fence and leaning towards not having any Android at all.. the big sticking point with them was security.. It should come as no surprise that they don’t want “other sources” available.. although don’t they have some ATT marketplace of their own in development ? .. I imagine the option for “other sources” will become magicly available when that finally comes online.

  6. Learn to adb :D

  7. Just another incident reinforcing my choice of buying the Streak straight from Dell rather than ATT when it gets released here.

  8. Well,

    Thanks for letting me know about the last straw AT&T… tired of waiting, and sick of the pathetic attempts you do put out.

    Off to T-Mobile (seriously, leaving for the mall in 5 minutes)

  9. So glad I left At&t to get my T-Mobile Nexus one in January.

  10. I had AT&T for 9 years and cannot figure out for the life of me why any Android user would want a phone on their network. Verizon has impressed me in ever area. I would recommend moving to them if you want an Android phone. AT&T will only get worse when the new iPhone comes out and millions of Fanboys Video chat each other about how they love Macs and Black Turtle Necks.

  11. So does this mean the device will not have google apps as well?

  12. god damn it, AT&T
    why are you doing this?

  13. No shit, can’t have anything making that iPhone look bad.

  14. AT&T is doing this because they want to control what uses their network, plain and simple. That’s why you’re not likely to ever see a non-locked phone coming from them. Sure, it ticks off a small group of power users who want a completely open platform, but they’re betting that the vast majority of users who don’t know rooting or care about unsigned apps will appreciate the network not being clobbered by out of control apps. It’s a business decision, and it’s not necessarily a bad one overall. It possibly benefits more users than it inconveniences.

  15. @Ross, are you a shill or just ignorant? There is nothing an app can do to their network, android talks to the phone hardware via AT commands. Not owning a computer I paid for is more than an inconvenience.

  16. Sure there’s ways around this (w/the SDK, etc.), but why should users have to put up w/it? The Aria is pretty disappointing to begin with, I’m quite glad I ditched AT&T last week for Sprint and the EVO… Got sick and tired of waiting and between this announcement and the Desire non-announcement (HTC is saying it’s going to small carriers) I’m quite glad I ditched AT&T. Whether it’s fear of Apple, or direct Apple meddling, it’s clear AT&T just wants Android as a platform to fail or at ‘least not be in direct competition w/the iPhone.

  17. @Ross It’s a business decision for sure, but it wasn’t made for practical network issues… If you really believe that you’re pretty naive. A handful of Android users w/rooted phones or unsigned apps isn’t gonna make a dent in the network compared to the massive amount of jailbroken iPhones… Decisions like this are born entirely out of the relationship between AT&T and Apple, plain and simple. Doesn’t mean Apple’s directly responsible, but their exclusivity deal is still influencing AT&T’s business moves in many many ways, and if you’re not an iPhone user that just plain bites!

  18. Gotta agree with you Frank. Wow, what a shame it is indeed. Although I had just ditched AppleT&T to go with the EVO too, I was really hoping they’d get their head OuttaTheirAsses ..but, apparently not. They’re just too married to Apple now.

  19. this is one more of the LONG list of reasons i’m hoping Cellular South gets the Desire/Bravo in August!!! 7 years of hell no more…

    Did i ever tell you I HATE ATT?

    Oh and to the comment on slamming at&t’s facebook with comments, been there and done that. Most of the morons are complete ifanboys and think Android can’t compete, believe me you’ll be way outnumbered. There are a few Phandroids that hit their page asking for a good device, but it’s pointless..
    Once more and more of us leave to go to other networks and bring more of our friends/family with us, THEN they will get the point.
    Their 1 phone will eventually loose it’s lust like it has with so many of us that no better already and the more that people see what Android CAN do and the iphone can’t that’s when the Tide will turn..

  20. Sigh

  21. On the same topic from above:

    I try to tell me friends that have iphone about all the cool features that Android has for instance Google Navigation, and they’re always like the iphone has that.. No, that’s Google Maps, Android has Google Navigation with voice guided turn by turn directions. Then they’re like well you can get those on the iphone. And i’m like yeah but that’s free on Android and it’s the best Navigation out right now…

    Just like this iMovie B.S. You’re buying a brand new iphone and their touting it’s video recording capabilities, but they want you to buy a $5 app that they themselves created yet they are too big of pricks to include it on their phone.
    THen look at everything Android gives you for free… It just amazes me how people are..

  22. AT&T has generated so much negative attention as of late with all of their network issues, user unfriendly plan and phone restrictions that it’s a wonder that they can get anybody at all to buy anything on their network other than Iphones.

    It will be interesting to see if the reports that have been filtering in from Asia about a CDMA Iphone being manufactured really means an end to the Iphone monopoly, and how many users will jump ship to the larger and far more reliable Verizon when it happens.

    Maybe then, you’ll see some real love for Android on AT&T… when they have to start begging for their customers to come back.

  23. What is most bothersome about this is that it’s entirely pointless. Users can still put non-market apps onto their phones, it just requires the use of ADB. Getting ADB set up on Windows and then operating it can be a bit annoying for a novice user of course, but that will change should Android become popular with AT&T customers. This is simply an inconvenience.

    The worst effect of it (in my extremely biased opinion) is for developers such as myself who will reap the 1-star ratings when certain features of our apps (e.g., the “Installer” feature in SystemPanel) appear to be “broken.”

  24. I’ve had a Rogers HTC Magic on ATT now for quite some time. Let’s see, the HTC Aria only beats the Magic with the processor and the camera. Worth getting an actual ATT Android phone? I’m sticking with my Magic until something better comes out (which probably won’t happen because ATT is lame)I really want to switch to Verizon, they have 3g where I live, unlike ATT.

  25. For years, AT&T has been the best service provider for the needs of me and my family. However, their current trend of “knee capping” every android phone they sell, has led me to purchase a Nexus One! So far, it’s been worth every penny of the $529 to have, IMO, the best of both worlds. I hope Google sells more unlocked phones in the future! That seems to be the only true alternative for guys like me who 1)will NEVER own an iPhone! 2)really enjoy the virtues of the android platform, and 3)can’t keep waiting for AT&T to stop fellating “iKing Jobs”, and finally offers an unbloated android phone that easily competes with/trumps the “why”phone!!!

  26. first of all , why the fuck would you want to buy an Android phone for AT&T in the first place when there are so many better phones available on Verizon, t mobile, and even sprint, and not to mention at&t’s shitty network. you might as well get a droid or an Evo

  27. I agree with Tarantino, I have been using a Telus Hero on AT&T for about 6 months now.

  28. Theirs no way AT&T won’t allow this due to their love for APPLE. Just pissing me off thinking not going to get a ANDROID phone from AT&T cause their bunch of pussies. I just fucking hate them will have to leave just go to Verizon.

  29. Why are they showing this phone in a article about the aria?
    I have never seen the aria before i read this article but even i knew this wasn’t it right when i saw the pic. Im not sure what that phone is (hd mini?) but it is running winmo.

  30. Sounds like AT&T has been drinking too much of the Apple/App Store lockdown koolaid.

  31. @ebby
    read much? Lol!

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