The D-Link DWM-T100 TV Tuner for Android that was announced yesterday was quite popular, it’s a great idea, but there may be some issues with the software side of things.
As pointed out by Rob in the comments, the D-Link TV Tuner app actually requires an additional installation before it can run. The D-Link TV Tuner app once installed from Google Play, makes a call for an additional app – PadTV – to be installed, which according to D-Link is hosted on their server. This app requires users to allow installation of apps from unknown sources in their Security settings before they can proceed.
With Google maintaining integrity of Google Play apps through their ‘Bouncer’ app checking, as well as through digital fingerprinting of apps for inconsistencies and malware, having to install an unapproved APK from an external source is a little concerning. D-Link assures us that the app is hosted on their servers and assure us that it ‘is a legitimate app from our server’.
When asked about why this solution is in place, they advised ‘We are working on a better solution, but due to the speed to market in getting this product out we had to use this method’. There’s no current ETA for when the app will actually be available from Google Play, D-Link advised that it is still going through internal testing.
That’s all well and good, if you trust D-Link. But there are other issues, there’s not a single warning that you’ll be required to install an app outside of Google Play anywhere on the D-Link TV Tuner app page on Google Play, nor is there one on their store site.
There’s also another, more formal reason that this is an issue, directing an app to download another from outside Google Play, is specifically banned in the latest Google Play Distribution agreement which states :
You may not use the Store to distribute or make available any Product which has a purpose that facilitates the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Store.
The actual product appears to be great, but there’s a security issue here that can’t be ignored with their software setup. We’ve asked D-Link to keep us updated about this issue and will advise as soon as this issue has been resolved, until that time, it’s a case of buyer beware.
We’ve just received the review unit, which contains Google Play branding below a QR code which directs users to a D-Link address that re-directs to Dropbox to download the APK: D-Link-PadTV-release-1.0.1-build-933-rc_signed_v2.apk. We’ve asked for further information from Google surrounding this issue.