The step-by-step installer for one of the most popular Android custom ROMs has been removed from the Google Play store after concerns that it encouraged voiding devices' warranties.
After only a fortnight on the Play store, the installer app for CyanogenMod (CM) has been pulled from public view. The app was removed by the CyanogenMod team but only after a request from Google. According to CM's head moderator and staff member Abhisek Devkota, the installer violates Google Play's developer terms.
In a blog post, Devkota said "we were contacted by the Google Play Support team to say that our CyanogenMod Installer application is in violation of Google Play's developer terms. They advised us to voluntarily remove the application or they would be forced to remove it administratively. We have complied with their wishes."
While the application itself is harmless, it violates the Play store's terms of service by encouraging users to void their warranty by altering their devices' software. In a technical sense, all the CyanogenMod installer app does is guide users to enable ADB, Android's built-in debugging tool, and then direct them to an installation program on PC. Devkota has said CyanogenMod is working on "a more favourable resolution", suggesting that there is potential for an alternative installation method.
Android allows application package files (APKs) to be installed through a process called sideloading, sidestepping the Google Play store. Although the CyanogenMod installer had hundreds of thousands of downloads in its short time on Google Play, its take-up rate will likely be much slower without the easy access offered through Google's one-click interface. The CyanogenMod team is also submitting the installer to the Amazon Kindle Fire and Samsung Apps stores.