In a perfect world, everything would work right and everyone would be honest. We don't live in a perfect world though, do we? Sadly, some people are out for profit and won't mind making some unscrupulous moves to make that happen, and so it is with this so called Chrome app by Manikandan S.
The app purports itself to be the "same as a google chrome web browser." In fact, here, I'll just show you the whole description:
Keep Chrome Browser handy on your device, especially for those unavoidable times you are on a slow crowded network, away from Wi-Fi. This app is same as a google chrome web browser. It has most stylish search button. Facebook, Google, Yahoo! -with Chrome Browser, all your favorite sites work great on your windows phone.
You can check out the whole store page here
. The numerous grammatical errors are already a red flag, but really, the only clue anyone should need is that the publisher isn't named Google. So okay, the guy makes a fake app that does little else but put the old Chrome logo on top of Internet Explorer (yes, that's really all it does), what's the problem? Avoid it and be be done with it, right? Well, that's not all. He's charging $2 for the app, and people are falling for it. Such blatant dishonesty has no place in the Marketplace. It's not the first time such apps have slipped by the approval process either; there was a Spotify app selling for $1 earlier, but it was removed shortly after the word got out that it was phony. Not being a developer myself I'm not intimately involved with the rules and tests apps must pass to be published, but I imagine that so long as the app is not malware and is functional, it's let through. Sadly that's not enough sometimes, and policing these kinds of scams will become increasingly difficult as the Marketplace continues to grow (we passed 60K apps recently).
This does raise another point though: the viability of alternate browsers on WP7. At the moment, all browsers on the platform are built using Trident, the rendering engine behind Internet Explorer, as their base, and adding on whatever other features they like. For instance, Surfcube 3D Browser
is a great improvement to the stock experience, but in the end it can only improve how you use the browser, not what the browser is capable of. And don't get me wrong, Internet Explorer on WP7 (and IE9 on desktops, for that matter) is a great browser and is taking leaps and bounds to shed itself of the reputation built by IE6, a browser that Microsoft is now actively aiming to kill across the globe. But just like it is great to have options and alternatives in phone selections on different carriers, there should be more options here as well. As of yet it would seem Microsoft has not really been happy to let such competition on the platform, which is understandable but still disappointing. And it's not like no one wants to move their browsers to WP7 either. When WP7 was unveiled, Opera made their own primer on it
and expressed their desire to have Opera on it, saying:
It has been rumored that initially Microsoft isn't open to the idea of having a choice of browsers available, which isn't exactly the news we at Opera want to hear, but I'm confident that we'll find a way to get the speed of Opera Mini on this platform, just as we did with the iPhone. Obviously users who are on slow networks or who are paying roaming charges will want what Opera Mini provides, and it seems like Microsoft would be shooting themselves in the foot to not allow such useful applications on their platform.
If you're not familiar with Opera Mini, here's the quick breakdown. First off it and Opera Mobile are currently the leader in the mobile marketshare
. Opera Mini in particular will aggressively compress and pre-render webpages to reduce them to as little as a tenth of their original size, great news for anyone who frequently courts their data caps. That feature, if nothing else, makes Opera a valuable asset to any mobile platform. The good news is that both Opera Mini
and Opera Mobile
are capable of being run on WP7 thanks to the geniuses over at XDA. The bad news is that they require a full "root" unlock, something most people don't have. If memory serves only some first generation devices (that means no Lumia 900) are even capable of doing such at this time, and the functionality isn't as great as it could be because of needing to work around certain restrictions. These versions were not coded for WP7, but rather Windows Mobile (i.e. 6.x, 7 was where it changed from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone) and then wrapped to allow for translation across platforms. Imagine how much better it could be if this was officially sanctioned and easily accessible to the masses via the Marketplace as a proper WP7 app? Microsoft is pushing to get top apps from other platforms ported to WP7, but this is certainly one of the
big apps that WP7 is missing right now. Sadly, we'll just need to wait and hope Microsoft can open up the Marketplace a little more to allow great apps like this in.