Rooted devices can't run Android movie rentals

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

Google has a new movie rental service for Android phones, but anyone who has tinkered with their phone will be SOL.

Google more or less turns a blind eye to users who want to run custom firmware on their Android phones, a process known as "rooting," but as the company starts to court third-party content providers, it becomes a sticky issue.

The online giant has confirmed anyone who has rooted their Android device will be unable to access movies from the newly launched service, "due to requirements related to copyright infringement."

Users will receive an "'Error 49' message if you attempt to play a movie on a rooted device," Google notes in documentation for the Android movie rental platform.

The new platform, which uses Youtube streaming technology to let mobile users pay for full-length movies, could be the beginning of increased restrictions on Android. It's sure to strike a negative chord with the development community, as it seemingly goes against Google's long heralded stance of being as open as possible.

Of course, this is without a doubt a requirement forced upon Google by the movie studios and content providers before they would agree to be part of the Android movie service. That's the nature of working with third-party companies, but the question is just how hard Google pushed to prevent this restriction from going through.

If the company is willing to acquiesce to other companies that want to place restrictions on Android, then it certainly starts to lose that sense of openness.