Archives for 26 Mar,2011

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I think android should have optional permissions with explanations

It’s great that the android market now allows a much larger description however most people will still not read the description, this becomes especially problematic when it comes to explanations for usage of permissions.

Below shows the explanation in the market of why my live wallpaper requests full internet permission:

Internet permission explanation in android market for nexus revamped live wallpaper

Internet permission explanation in android market for nexus revamped live wallpaper

And this image shows one user complaining about the permission in the reviews:

Complaining about permissions in review without reading description

Complaining about permissions in review without reading description

This combined with the inability to respond to comments to explain how the commenter is an idiot (something the amazon app store allows) can severely hinder your applications downloads, as sales are strongly influenced to the ratings of the last three comments.

Solution

  • Allow developers to add explanations to certain permissions so that users can understand why your app might (optionally) need access to your contacts, use the internet, or send an text message etc…
  • Allow developers to specifiy which permissions are optional giving the user the ability to deny an applications access some permission. This could be handled automatically in android with a popup box saying an app is trying to use an optional permission would you like to allow etc… similar to how the super user stuff works in rooted phones, or the background data/gps etc…

Would love to hear other developer’s opinions or alternate ideas!

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