Dell confirmed to PhoneNews.com that, much like the Motorola Backflip, the Dell Aero will be prohibited from running unsigned Android applications.
The company refused to comment on the reasons why, but the reason is quite clear; AT&T. The company refuses to allow unsigned applications to run on any Android device launched by the carrier.
To Google’s credit, the chief developer of Android wants no part of these restrictions, and is refusing to put the “with Google” branding on Backflip or Aero. Still, legal questions loom large for device manufacturers willing to consent to these hinderances. As Android touts a gatekeeper-less universe of open application development, these changes make it questionable if users should be notified pre-purchase about said hinderances.
Verizon Wireless notoriously got into similar trouble when hindering Bluetooth on the Motorola V710, causing the company to add a paragraph of legalese and statements to every Bluetooth-enabled phone’s product page and packaging. Will AT&T be forced to make similar warnings about Android phones?
The answer to that question is probably one class-action away.