BlackBerry’s App Store Is Selling Pirated Android Apps

BlackBerry’s App World isn’t exactly well-stocked. Even worse? Some of its apps are repackaged from Google’s store — and resold by scammers.

Here’s a sleazy way to make a quick buck: Repackage popular Android apps as BlackBerry PlayBook/BlackBerry 10 apps, put your name on them, and jack up the price. That’s what happened to this Android developer, apparently:

I recently had two users email me about certain compatibility problems. They did mention that they were using Playbooks, but I figured they were running some kind of Android ROM on their devices. I asked one of them for his Google account, and he informed me that he only had a BB ID, not a Google account, and that he had downloaded the app from BB App World.

Sure enough, someone had downloaded my app from Google Play, converted the APK and published it for BB using his account, along with half a dozen other Android apps that were obviously not his own. Most of them have since been taken down, but his account remains active, and he still has three apps published that look like they might be from Google Play.

Converting Android apps for the Playbook is very simple — there are utilities that largely automate the process — and, according to one Reddit commenter, it’s still easy to find examples of repackaged apps in the store. (RIM offers a bounty for certain legitimately ported Android apps.)

RIM, to its credit, has issued a statement on the issue, urging developers to report ay evidence of stolen apps. But it’s a bizarre problem for RIM to have to address — and a scheme that could only work in a store that nobody’s really watching very closely. Not the most auspicious start for BlackBerry 10.

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