To celebrate what Google said was the 10 billionth app download from the Android Marketplace, the company has been running a promotion to flog many of its top apps for as little as 10p. But there’s a problem.
Users have found some of the apps outright refusing to work on smartphones that they really should run on. Some are being greeted with “licensing errors” and can’t get past the first screen, or open apps at all. One user writes of Flick Golf: “Bought it and it errors, says it’s unlicensed”.
Another says: “License not working, authentication not working. I got it on the 10 cent special but can’t play the app.” User DK said: “License issues, just bought the app but it says I haven’t bought it. This sucks. I didn’t refund. I’ll wait for a FIX!”
Still on FlickGolf, WayneS writes: “10 cent deal fails. Downloaded under 10 cent offer, but will not run. Keeps asking for license, even though purchased under this deal. Don’t buy with this offer. It won’t work.”
Then there’s “Can’t install, broken DRM, won’t ven let me install” and “License issues! Just downloaded for 10 cents. Won’t let me play. US Sensation”. .
Meanwhile, Gameloft’s racing game Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD was attracting similar complaints when it was on sale yesterday. “Invalid license, won’t let me play, fix your broken DRM, don’t screw over paying customers!” said one user. Another said: “1 star until they fix license, won’t let me play due to ‘invalid’ license”.
Other customers for Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD claimed that, despite the deal, they were charged the full hefty price tag for the app.
Others still are flagging incompatibility problems. This is a challenge for Android anyway, because the OS works across so many different form factors, screen sizes and with different hardware configurations and chipsets. But high-end phones like the Samsung Galaxy S2 are also struggling to make the most of the deal.
Galaxy S2 users are reporting that Gameloft’s Asphalt doesn’t work at all on their handsets, while another promoted app on sale, the NFL Rivals game, has been taking in dodgy reviews.
“Force close, constantly force closing,” said an HTC Rezound user. “Buyers beware,” began a Galaxy S2 user, “Like others, cannot get past first screen. Game crashes after a few seconds. It’s worthless.”
“wtf, Galaxy S2 freezes too,” said Zhong, while Michael B said: “Can’t get this to work on my Galaxy S2″.
“Keeps crashing, crashes on zoom,” said a user, while another claimed he couldn’t play it on a Motorola Atrix 4G.
“Won’t even install,” according to a customer called Thomas, “Says it’s compatible with my device, but it won’t even install. Will never buy anything from this crappy company again.”
While 10p a pop might not seem like much money from an individual perspective, it does beg the question how many people bought apps that simply didn’t work for them – and how much money the app makers raked in from Google’s high visibility promotion.
We have contacted Google for comment but, at time of publishing, it hasn’t said a word.