Pokédroid

Computer Science
The player finds a shiny Zubat in Pokémon Fire...

Image via Wikipedia

A few days ago I received word the Pokédex application known as Pokédroid has been taken off of the Android Market. I remember when I first got my Nexus One (N1) in July of 2010, it seemed like one of the coolest apps ever. However the N1 has limited internal storage to the tune of 512MB, and only 180MB are usable since it needs some space to store the OS, but I digress. Space was at a premium so I uninstalled the app and installed ones I thought more important.

Not even a year later, The Pokemon Company decides to cry foul on one of the top apps on the Android Market, Pokédroid. They cried trademark violation and that this Pokédex application (among many others) wasn’t considered “fair use” under the DMCA*. As I look more into Pokédroid, I find a talented developer quaffed down by “the man” in an effort to push their own free product independent of him. They would hear nothing of cooperation on the app, merely that he would stop development on it.

Outraged, I scour the file sharing sites in hopes that I can find a backup somewhere**. Finally I stumble upon reddit discussion with links to personal backups of everything the developer released at last update. It was a miracle and I immediately installed it on my phone. Several things changed since I last used this app, including adding the latest generation of Pokémon (Black/White). This app had over 450,000 individual downloads in its lifetime and numerous users were heartbroken on its removal. I had to do something.

Even now as I type this sentence out, I find it tragic that the author didn’t open up the source code to the public. I’ll soon be asking him about requesting the official source code, though I have a plan on decompiling the application as it is. Would anyone be interested in seeing this project continue?

The developer’s blog has the rest of the story complete with outraged comments from Pokéfans.

** This is not an admission of piracy since the application (while normally available) was free and I have it on good faith that it is fair use of the Pokémon trademark. If you are a legal representative for Nintendo, Game Freak, Creatures inc., or anyone else currently laying claim to the Pokémon trademark, feel free to contact me regarding why it is not fair use.

Android Development

Computer Science

Due to recent revisions of the Android Developer’s corner, I’m looking more into creating apps for Android and trying to make some cash on the side. I’ve also been looking into ad servers such as AdMob (now owned by Google) and MoPub (open source and a recent startup) for free versions of apps I develop. Of course I would offer premium versions as well to get rid of ads, but I’d like to have some compensation for my time and the startup fee Google charges for new developers ($25).

My thought is that most users are willing to pay between $1 and $3 for a decent app with awesome functionality. If I find a niche that hasn’t already been covered, I could continue to update apps and get a ton of experience in a relatively new technology market. Great resume builder! At the same time, learning the Android SDK would allow me to develop apps for personal use and actually meet the needs of a part of the mobile web market.

These are just some ideas that have been floating around in my head as of late, but we’ll see if they go anywhere.