Android Owners: Screenshots or Movies … Pick One


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Android Owners: Screenshots or Movies ... Pick One

I have been reviewing games since … well, since before the advent of smartphones anyway. And yet I have always managed to be able to come up with screenshots from my chosen device -Newton, Psion, Palm, Windows Mobile, iOS … but not Android. For some mind-numbing reason Android lacks a built-in screenshot utility.

No problem for many – just ‘root’ the device and install one of the many screenshot utilities on the Android Market. Heck, that almost makes it seem like it is sanctioned officially!.

But it isn’t – and that is one reason I have not rooted my Android device. Because every now and again you hear something that is broken or unsupported on rooted devices.

The latest? Renting movies on the Android Market. Apparently if you have rooted your device you cannot rent movies. According to Google’s own support site:

You’ll receive this “Error 49” message if you attempt to play a movie on a rooted device. Rooted devices are currently unsupported due to requirements related to copyright protection.

That’s right – having a rooted Android device does something to your ability to pass some DRM criteria. Which is interesting since even Apple doesn’t place those sorts of restrictions on their iOS devices – people who jailbreak their iPhones can watch iTunes movies just fine.

And another brick in the ‘open’ wall falls …

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

4 Comments on "Android Owners: Screenshots or Movies … Pick One"

  1. I think that the percentage of people who actually root Android phones is very low, so this is not as big an issue as people are making it out to be. Anybody technically proficient enough to root a phone and get superuser access is probably proficient enough to find unprotected versions of these movie for free on the internet. Just sayin’.

    As for me, I want far better battery life on my Android phone before I’ll even dream of playing a movie on the thing.

    • I have generally said the same thing as you – that rooting is for the so-called ‘techno elite’. So we agree there.

      As for pirating movies, yeah … we all know that is huge as well.

      But I have been told that my base assumption – that similar to the PSP, regardless of initial intent people who ‘crack’ their systems end up using pirated software – doesn’t apply to iPhone/Android to the same extent as the PSP/DS and similar stuff. So I would like to think that the reaction of ‘root-ers’ would be ‘Google needs to fix this’ rather than ‘we don’t pay for stuff anyway’.

      Definitely agree on battery life, though! That is why I don’t use my Droid Pro as my primary music device.

      • The best way to get the message across to Google is for Amazon to come out with their own tablet and phone, with access to their own android market, and access to their own video-on-demand service that doesn’t look out rooted devices.

        Still, if Google is contractually obligated by rights-holders to prevent rooted devices from accessing DRM protected content in their movie rental service, it won’t matter what rooted users say or don’t say about it, I think. It’s still my opinion that Google has nothing to fix, really. Want to watch movies that badly? Unroot it, then.

        I would be disappointed if Google’s PIM apps are not available to rooted devices, but, if that happens, I guess I just go back to stock, because access to Gmail, Google Calendar and contacts are far more important to me than whether my phone is rooted or not.

        I realize that there are a great many people who root their phones who simply want that freedom, but that’s just not me.

  2. Jamie Poster | May 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm |

    I’m not sure what to be more surprised about: that Apple let’s jailbroken phones access iTunes movies or that rooted Android phones don’t! So much for open!

    One of the features about the HTC Flyer that’s so exciting to me is the ability to take screen shots so easily. Why would they build screenshots into native software for annotation and yet make the same function so very locked down on all other devices? Strange and frustrating…

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