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28 July 2010, 15:15

Licensing server for Android

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Zoom The Android SDK Manager now offers a "Market Licensing Package".
Along with complaints about confusing payment methods, developers targeting the Android platform have raised the issue that there is no effective way of preventing users from copying applications. Google intends to change this by introducing a central licensing server. The functionality required for this service has already been part of the Market application on smartphones since Android 1.5, so the licensing service can be used with all available devices.

The connection between the client and the licensing server is secured via a key pair for each developer. Rather than talking directly to the server, the communication between application and server is handled by the Android Market client, over IPC (Inter-process communication). An SDK, which includes the LVL (License Verification Library) is available to assist developers in using the service and to configure licensing from a range of different licensing models.

This system only allows licences to be verified when the device is on the network; for situations where devices are offline, Google suggests that developers should locally cache the licensing status and offers pre-built modules in the LVL to do this. Google says that compared to previous copy-protection mechanisms, the licensing server offers such advantages as allowing users to install applications on SD cards.


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