Is Augen GenTouch78 Tablet Using Pirated Android App?

I recently wrote about the new Augen GenTouch78 Android tablet that the company was releasing on KMart at a price of $149.99. One of the interesting features about the 7-inches display tablet running Android 2.1 is the availability of the Android market app. Interesting because, this is an application that is yet to be publicly announced for any Android tablet computer.

It now appears that the company may have obtained the Android market app via an unauthorized vendor. In a statement made to LaptopMag, a Google spokesperson has indicated that their company has not licensed the Android market app to Augen and hence this could be technically illegal. The spokesperson has said,

“Augen included proprietary Google software in their product via an unauthorized vendor. Google only licenses its software to partners and OHA [Open Handset Alliance] members directly.”

It is worth noting that while the Android operating system is itself an open source software, the Android market app is not and only licensed partners are allowed to offer this application on their devices. LaptopMag points out that the fact that this is illegal could then explain an issue noticed with the use of the application on GenTouch78. The website points out that the Android market app only lets users search for apps though downloading was not possible.

It will be interesting to see how Augen’s retail partner KMart decides to proceed in this regard. Considering that incorporation of unlicensed software amounts to piracy, it is likely that KMart may choose to stop selling Augen GenTouch78. There is no statement from the company in that effect so far, though.