AT&T reverses course, will support third-party Android app stores

AT&T (NYSE:T) will soften its stance against non-market Android applications, confirming plans to support the new Amazon Appstore for Android as well as other third-party storefronts. "AT&T plans to offer the Amazon application store for Android smartphones, and we're working to give our Android customers access to third party application stores," the operator said in a statement, All Things Digital reports. "This requires updates to our systems and finalizing arrangements with Amazon." AT&T did not specify a timetable for when Amazon Appstore access will go live--nor did it identify which other Android app marketplaces it will support, stating only it will share information with subscribers "in the near future."

Android-based AT&T devices like the Motorola Backflip and HTC Aria are presently blocked from downloading applications from third-party sources outside of Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) own Android Market and authorized partners like cross-platform app store GetJar. A dedicated Android landing page published on the AT&T website last summer explained "AT&T selected Android Market as the exclusive source for applications because it forces developers to be accountable for the apps they submit. If the Android community has issues with an app, the app can be flagged and removed. This minimizes the risk of malicious apps harming customers and provides more protection to the customer's private data stored on the phone."

Last month, Google deleted more than 50 Android Market apps containing the DroidDream malware, which seeks to gain root access to the user's device to collect a range of available data and download more malicious code to the smartphone without the consumer's knowledge or consent. Google leveraged a remote application removal feature to zap the apps in question, suspended the associated developer accounts and contacted law enforcement officials about the attack.

For more:
- read this All Things Digital article

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