• The Undead Android



    In honour of Halloween I humbly present a recent tale of terror:

    I've a neighbour who not only doesn't know how to use her Android phone, but actively (if unwittingly) does it harm. In her defence, she's never really used a computer; as such the whole desktop/homescreen metaphor is pretty much lost on her, as are the modern conventions of interacting with touch screens. I've received numerous panicked phone calls from her, to the effect of:

    "Everything on my phone has suddenly changed!"

    ... Only to find out that she's unknowingly moved an app icon across several newly-created homescreens to a place where she understandably can't find it.

    That's bad enough, but what I discovered a few weeks ago is even worse. She asked me for help downloading an app, but upon examining her phone (a mid-range Samsung, if that matters) I was shocked to discover that it had no app store!

    The phone was purchased new at a carrier store, yet somehow a key component had been hacked away. I asked its owner if she recalled seeing anything by the name of "Play Store". Her response?

    "Oh yeah, I deleted that. It kept bugging me to upgrade, it was really annoying."

    I was ready to tell her what would be obvious to anyone reading this, that without an app store neither she nor I could download new apps, but then I realized that the browser version of Google Play had an active install button for the title she wanted. To my surprise and disbelief, the app downloaded and installed right from the browser.

    The useful information here is that so long as your device has the necessary libraries and APIs from Google, you don't necessarily need the Play Store app. But the scary part for me is this poor phone, doomed to further torture by my neighbour for the rest of its days.

    Image source: Flickr

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Undead Android started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. brad4cell's Avatar
      brad4cell -
      I can't delete the play store only disable it so likely only the icon was removed.

      The browser install is likely instant apps where you can run an app without installing it.
    1. aml1025's Avatar
      aml1025 -
      Quote Originally Posted by brad4cell View Post
      I can't delete the play store only disable it so likely only the icon was removed.

      The browser install is likely instant apps where you can run an app without installing it.
      If you sign into Google Play through the web browser, it will send actual apps to download and install on your phone. It's a different mechanism from that annoying (to me) Instant Apps feature.

      As for the Play Store, I agree it is most likely disabled and/or the icon is hidden. Checking the list of all apps should find it and show its state. After finding it, you may want to help your neighbor put the phone in Easy Mode (if available) to simplify things a bit.
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