While TiVo has long promised official Android apps they have yet to materialize. But Android users haven’t been left without a solution, thanks to the TiVo hacking community. One of the best apps available, at least for TiVo Premiere users, has been TiVo Commander. I covered it back in August, and it recently gained new attention as it also works with UK units. All was well, or so it seemed.
Well, apparently TiVo took exception to this app, because it is gone from the Android Market. And, according to the creator in a post dated 11/29, this is due to a takedown request from TiVo on trademark grounds:
Late last night, TiVo sent a takedown request for this app to the Android Market, on trademark infringement claims. It was honored, and thus this app was removed.
Time will tell what happens to rectify this. If you have graphic design skills you could probably help me hasten that.
My reaction is simple – this sucks. TiVo has been promising an Android app for a long time now without delivering and it is really cool to have independent developers stepping up. This app is one of the best, which is why it has been so popular. It only works with the TiVo Premiere family and TiVo gives their apps away for free, so it isn’t like it is taking any revenue away from TiVo. If anything I’d think it might get more people to buy a TiVo since they can use their Android devices to control them.
As the author implies, the suspicion is that TiVo took issue with the use of their graphics. The application includes a very nice visual representation of the TiVo Remote, for example. But what does that mean for other apps, like VM TiVo Net Remote, which also use TiVo graphics? It is a shame that TiVo would go this route, but if this is the root of the issue then at least the solution should be simple – replace the graphics. An alternative is to use an original interface as TiVoNetRemote for Windows Phone has. Did EchoStar/Sling Media license the TiVo graphics for SlingPlayer? How about Monsoon Multimedia for HAVA/Vulkano?
I’ve reached out to TiVo to see if they have an official statement on the takedown – why it was done, and if they might be going after other apps as well. I’ll post their response if & when I receive it.
In the meantime there is a bit of good news, the app is still available for direct download. So you can sideload it on your Android device even though you can’t get it through the market. And I’m sure that even if this avenue goes away the .apk file will find new homes on the net, especially now that this has happened. But I recommend downloading it right now, just in case. You can always keep the .apk file around to install it later, if & when you need it.