INTRO: According to the reports the new and latest Samsung Wearable app for Galaxy smartwatches is prompting and notifying all the users to sideload the Samsung Pay APK on Android phones in apparent violation of Play store policies.
According to the recent reports we have recieved, the prompt comes when users are setting up Samsung Pay on a Galaxy Watch from a non-Samsung smartphone. Apparently, the Play Store version of the app does not come along with the Samsung Pay plugin. So now it downloads a fully built and signed apk from AWS and then it prompts the user to install it.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 Plugin app does not have Samsung Pay Plugin as part of the apk and does not sign the app. It, instead, downloads a fully built and signed apk off AWS then prompts the user to install it.
This action breaks Google Play TOS. pic.twitter.com/VOmnUrMtlT
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) June 9, 2020
The action, which was first pointed out by Max Weinbach seems to be a violation of Play Store rules. According to section 4.5 of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement, the apps cannot install other software from sources other than the Google Play Store. So basically the main thing here is that the Samsung app here can’t download or prompt users to install apps from a third-party server.
Whenever an app breaks or unrules the Play Store’s terms of service (ToS), Google generally removes it from the platform until the developer gets rid of the illicit function and does not look into it again. However, in this case, scenario, the app was still available in the store when we checked. It will be now interesting to see if Google will act on the report, or if it will turn a blind eye to the infraction.
The action of pulling the Samsung Pay APK from third-party servers is seemingly specific to the Play Store version of the app. The Galaxy Store version apparently comes with some of the necessary API to install the plugin in the background without any user interaction into it. Either of the ways, for the current instance there’s no further clarification on this matter at this point in time, but we’ll be hopefully getting more information soon.