Since smartphones have become "the thing", it has somehow been decided that locking your phone to a particular primary e-mail address and having DRM is "okay". Android, despite being open-source, is somehow not the exception.

Since Android IS open-source however, it would seem that a developer would be able to customize it to remove the primary-email restriction on the phone and to unlock all purchased applications to be available to whomever is using the phone at the time, only requiring a sign-in to purchase new applications or when using certain applications.

I don't currently use Android, and bought a Windows 7 Phone only to find that it does the exact same thing as Android (and most other phone operating systems) Are there any Android projects that are attempting to move Android towards a DRM-less environment?

4 Answers 4


Paid Apps are tied to an Google account. But this is because of the Google Framework and not because of Android. No one needs to "remove DRM from Android" because there is no DRM within Android. Only support for it. If you install free (as in beer) Apps, everyone can use them.

There is only one imitative that goes one step further then being DRM-less: Android FOSS Apps @ http://f-droid.org/


Strictly speaking, you don't have to use Google's services if you don't want to.

Newer Android OS versions (2.3 and above, if I'm not mistaken) allow you to bypass the initial sign-in with a Gmail/Google account. You lose the synchronization with Google's services, but otherwise the phone will be functional. You can then use other services (e.g. Amazon, GetJar, SlideMe, etc.) or simply side-load apps directly to your device if you can get them from other sources.


There is an alternative to the AOSP/CM which frees you of any closed source versions of Android along with @Chahk's answer called Replicant.

And it incorporates F-Droid into it as in, free open source software without DRM.

It would be quite easy to port to a device that has a known working CyanogenMod device tree for the said device in question.


Android has a built-in DRM framework from multiple companies aligned under the Open Mobile Alliance.

Your phone is bloated with:

  • Widevine DRM framework
  • Microsoft Dx DRM framework
  • Open Mobile Alliance DRM framework
  • 1
    Hummm... FYI you can compile AOSP minus the DRM bits (which I have done successfully)
    – t0mm13b
    Aug 10, 2013 at 22:11

You must log in to answer this question.