Android tether backtrack: apps allowed, but not for T-Mob US users

After pulling all of the software that offered a way to tether an Android device from the Android Market earlier this week, Google have now backtracked on their draconian policy.  In a statement to one tether-app developer, Google described their move as "inadvertent", and promised to re-include the software; however it would not be available to T-Mobile US subscribers.

"We inadvertently unpublished your application for all mobile providers; if you like, we can restore your app so that all Android Market users outside the T-Mobile US network will have access to your application." Google statement to developer

This implies that Google will be maintaining different, or actively filtered, versions of the Android Market, that will offer alternative line-ups of software depending on which carrier the user is with.  It's unclear whether that will be reliant on the current SIM being used – in which case it could potentially be bypassed by unlocking the phone and temporarily using another SIM card – or more permanently tied into the handset's IMEI.

In the longer term, it has serious implications for other apps – like VoIP or media download – that conflict with carriers' own offerings.  If Google are willing to put carriers above developers over tethering, there's no reason to assume they'll do anything different in the next app dispute.

[via Android Community]