UPDATE (10/25/12): Last night we pushed v2.9.7 to Google Play which resolves the issues from v2.9.5 and 2.9.6. Knots 3D is now again available on Google Play for download and update.
Last night we pushed out the v2.9.5 update to Google Play which had a bug fix and a minor UI change. Unfortunately, users who upgraded had package signing errors and were unable to update. It turns out that the process used to remove the un-needed permissions and libraries is no longer working and resulted in an invalid apk file. See extensive post and discussion regarding the CoronaSDK bundled permissions here and here.
The Google Play developer console does not allow developers to revert back to a previous version so the only way to fix the above was to release a new version of Knots 3D, v2.9.6, without removing the Corona Bundled permissions. This was released several hours after v2.9.5 last night. After receiving emails and negative reviews regarding the permissions, I have decided to pull Knots 3D completely from Google Play. I understand the concerns over privacy and do not want to alienate those users for which this is an issue. Hopefully we can again figure out how to get the apk package properly built without the default Corona permissions and return Knots 3D to the Google Play store.
Our apologies for the inconvenience and confusion.
– Knots 3D Team
We are happy to announce that we have found a way to remove the unused and unnecessary third party libraries (discussed in this earlier post) from Knots 3D! Hurray! Using a tool outside of the Corona framework, we were able to remove the offending libraries from the app and also remove the internet permissions some of those libraries required. Both the paid (v2.8) and free (v1.1) versions of Knots 3D have recently been published to Google Play and and Barnes and Noble and should be available in the Amazon App Store as soon as it is approved. Hopefully this addresses some(all?) of the concerns some folks on the Amazon app store voiced when Knots 3D was the free app of the day. We personally hate ads and made a decision not to have them in even the free version of Knots 3D — so it was with much chagrin we were accused of adware! 🙂
UPDATE (8/7/12): Third Party Modules and permissions have been removed from Knots 3D. See details in this post.
We are often asked why Knots 3D requires the following permissions on the Android platform:
- Full Internet access
- Read phone state and identity
Knots 3D actually does not use the Internet for anything once it is installed. The reason for the permissions is actually due to the underlying development framework. Knots 3D was developed using Corona SDK which was made by Ansca Mobile and is now known as Corona Labs. These permissions are included by default when the app is compiled and there is currently no easy way to remove them!
So why are they there at all? Good question. The programming framework (Corona SDK) sends statistics on usage (analytics) back to a server (coronalabs.com). I have disabled the calls but the permissions are still included when the app is built. Many developers in the Corona community have requested that these be optional and only included if the app actually uses the internet for something. Corona Labs has indicated they are looking at this issue (granted they have been looking at it for some time now).
Some other concerns are that the app is somehow “spying” on you and is what is known as spyware. This perception is due to packages included in Corona that report on statistics ie Flurry Analytics or are api’s into third party ecosystems such as the Facebook social network or Open Feint social gaming platform. Yes, these API’s exist in Corona but in the case of Knots 3D they are not used for anything — the libraries are simply included in the compiled binary. Let me state again — THEY ARE NOT USED! It is unfortunate that Corona includes these in the build of all apps using the Corona framework. If nothing else, it adds unnecessary bloat to the app size. Obviously it gives pause to those that wonder “what are these libraries and why should a knot app need access to the internet.” Rest assured, there is no nefarious plan to steal your data or give any information to marketers. In the next release (due out next month) I’ll add clarification to the app description regarding the permissions and modules. I think the app is unique and useful, but understand perceived privacy concerns and understand if someone doesn’t want to keep/download the app for that reason.
CoronaLabs.com discussion links regarding this issue:
If you have further concerns regarding Permissions, privacy and spyware not addressed above, please let us know on our support page: http://nynix.com/support/