A warning to anyone thinking of buying apps from Play Store.
Any app that has the following permission: "NETWORK COMMUNICATION MARKET LICENSE CHECK Can check if you have a license for this application from Market"
uses DRM and this tablet (and many similar tablets) will fail the DRM check, even if Play Store says the app will work. This means you can buy the app but you cannot use it.
At the moment I don't know of work around for this problem. So for example Documents 2 Go Full Version will not work but QuickOffice Pro will. Lots of games have this permission setting. It usually only show on Play Store if you view all permissions.
Some apps check for a valid licence immediately or when you get past the main menu (i.e. connect to a media server). Some will check after a defined period of time, so they give the impression of working but fail probably after 15 minutes Google gives you to return the app for a refund.
Having engaged in discussion with a couple of developers and raising the issue with Google:
The root problem is that the implementation of the Google Play API on these and other such devices is not complete. (This I knew!) Because of this the check for valid DRM licenses will fail. Some developers have added code which performs an additional licence check by trapping the errors which indicate an API failure. They then perform an addition licence check. Skynet who make myPlayer Pro have done this after I (and probably others) asked what was happening. Other apps already seem to have done this but you won't know which until you have bought and they fail.
Some developers allow a period of grace whereby an app will run without a licence check but will eventually fail. This may mislead you and allow you to pass the 15 minute returns window.
In a nutshell there is a "gap" in the Google Play system where it will allow you to buy apps but may also prevent you from running them. If you get caught by this, I'd recommend hassling the developer and suggest they look at how other developers have solved the problem. Demand a refund until such times they fix the issue. A simple email will do. If software companies get enough direct feedback they may well act.
Incidentally, I commend Skynet software for their customer support.
Paraphrasing Google Play Support, the response was basically: "Tough luck, pal. The device is not licensed to use Play. We suggest you contact the manufacturer."
I think it still wrong that there is no way to tell for sure if an app will pass the DRM check. They should at least warn you there might be an issue.
I have a few paid for apps, many picked up during various Google sales.
Apps that I have had working include using Google DRM: PowerAmp Pro myPlayer Pro Majesty (only if you have an active network connection) ezPDF Reader
Apps that have failed: 3G Watch Dog Pro Seemingly anything produced by FullFat Minecraft PE Great little Wargame Tank Riders Zenonia
I have other apps as yet untested, mostly games sold during promotions for around 10p. FullFat games and some others will run immediately after installation but will fail the first time they actually check the licence, which is a bit naughty because it means you then pass the 15 minute refund window. Nothing on the fail list I really care that much about. I listed Documents2Go as a fail earlier but I have not tested it so it may work. I have QuickOffice Pro which does not use Google DRM.
It includes enough of the Google Play API to connect and use the store. The part of the API which handles communication with the Google DRM system is non-functional. The device (and pretty much all similar devices) fail Google's compatibility tests and hence are not licenced for Play Store.
http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/answer.py?answer=1727131 is a link Gooogle sent me which lists the licenced devices.
As I said the trick is to check permissions of paid apps and look in the permissions and click "Show All" to see if "MARKET LICENSE CHECK" is included. Either the app will fail immediately you start it or it may fail later, depending on when the developer decides a licence check is needed, unless of course the developer has been canny enough to solve the problem by trapping the error and using an alternative method.
I cannot get films rented from Play Store to download. It seems I can only watch rentals on the web. The message in Play Movies is 'Rentals are not available on your device because it appears to be rooted'. Does 'rooted' mean the DRM issue? Has anyone else had this problem and is there a way around it? It's a pain as I bought this tab to watch films whilst on a long flight.
Rooted means you have acces to system areas you wouldnt normally have access to and yes your device comes rooted as part of the op system install. There are apps available on google play that allow you to toggle between your device appearing rooted and not rooted to fool other apps into thinking one or the other. Not used them myself but may be worth a try. Search for rooted on the store and check the descriptions.
Thanks Paul. Downloaded Voodoo OTA RootKeeper and temporarily unrooted this tab but still Play Movies does not work. Same rooted message. I guess I should have looked more closely at the reviews about Play Movies as there are a lot of unhappy users out there with this rooted problem but I did not even know what rooted meant at the time. Earlier this year I bought another diff model NATPC tab and had no problem with renting on Play Movies. Everything downloads beautifully so I did not expect this. I am a little wiser now. I still want to rent/buy and download movies (not view online) so if anyone can recommend another company that I can get films (legally) please let me know. So far I have drawn a blank.
Interestingly Power Amp has started working again. I am not aware of any recent updates. All I did was move the app to SD storage and it noticed it was working. I have since moved it back to "Tablet" storage. Either this did the trick or there was some snafu with the installation.
I'll wait and see if the problem re-occurs in a couple of weeks. Currently I have the App in main storage and the licence enabler on SD card.
I've received this tablet today, and had been trying to figure out why some of my paid for apps didn't work when I came across this post.
I'm disappointed that there was no mention of this in the product description. If I'd known about it in advance I wouldn't have ordered it. It says "Genuine UK Android Market" which is clearly not true.
Apps that I've paid for but aren't working include: International Snooker Xpiano+ Power Snooker Easy Freezy
Best plan is to contact the developer and explain the problem as I detailed above. If they suggest uninstalling and re-installing then tell them that won't work. 2 of the 3 developers I contacted said, sorry but we'd have our app pirated. The third changed the licence checking process to fix the problem.
Happy to recommend Skynetsoftware as a kind and thoughtful developer and I won't buy any more apps from the other two.
As a developer I can confirm that clearing app data will buy you more time because to the app it will have its preference area cleared where the cached licence check data is stored. If the app has a grace period for when the license server cannot be contacted (eg on a plane) then the grace period is restarted.
The developer is not trying to prevent you returning its to ensure you can use it where the check cannot be done.
As a dev I wish it was possible to set your own refund time window.
Any app that enforces a strict policy will fail immediately.
Unless a developer sets up their own licence server then they either have to use Google play licensing or open themselves up to piracy.
This really is down to a badly implemented os version on the tablet and in no way the fault of the developer.
Many times you see a purchase cancelled within 2 minutes, only to see them really purchase the next day. Call me cynical but I wonder why!
Anyway all, thank you for being honest paying customers. Android is a great platform providing real value with Google taking 30% the developer can offer a reasonable price for their wares.
It take your point about the fault lying with those that implemented the OS on the tablet. I also take the point about the grace period.
However, unless a licence check is made the first time it is loaded after installation, you have no idea if the app will work and by then you've exceeded the refund window. I do have some with Google DRM which will work and I can only assume that the developer is making a secondary check or their implementation of the DRM code is defective.
I do check any apps I might want to buy specifically for the tablet for the MARKET LICENCE CHECK permission.
The thing is the license verification documentation is deliberately non specific about how it takes place to prevent circumventing.
An app can declare a permission and not use it!
They provided a number of results like.
Not market managed. (Sideloaded on non market device) Licence not valid Licence valid
License not valid retry (where server cannot be contacted)
It is up to the developer what they do with these.
If you get the retry response the program can let you continue. But after so many retries you get Licence not valid. If you get retry and then 1hr later get license not valid then it is down to Google.
It is possible for the app with some extra code to make strict check the first time. Only problem with this is if the Google server is not available your buyer will just uninstall where as with the relaxed check they would never know.
Unfortunately its always the paying customer who suffers due to the non paying. For example when you play a DVD you are forced to watch warning after warning you are unable to fast forward that a counterfeit will just remove.
...and apparently there is an error-code for a non-compliant device.
The part I am not clear about is whether the tablet is "fooling" Google Play into thinking it is compliant to access the Play Store or Google are failing to detect that it is not complaint with DRM servers at the point of sale.
My suspicion is that Google are not checking at point of sale and probably they ought to. (They should not be selling stuff they also determine you cannot run.)
However, the point is moot because I have not paid for an app specifically for this tablet that won't work.
The only error that would match that is "not market managed" there is a list for testing on the developer console.
The Google play apk version makes a difference. Whilst testing licencing I came across an issue where license was either always refused or always OK regardless of the test status setting in the developer console.
I solved this by going into applications and settings for google play and uninstalled updates which forced it back to android market, then the pushed update changed it back to Google play and it has.worked ever since. So licensing is tied.in with the market APK.
I would be looking for another market apk. Or maybe go into manage apps and do a clear data on the market apk.