Android L Keyboard removed from Play Store, found in violation of developer agreement

by: Andrew GrushJuly 9, 2014


With the arrival of Android L we’ve seen a large number of Nexus owners dive right in and download the Developer Preview (myself included), more recently this even includes Nexus 4 users as well. Of course not everyone owns a compatible device or is willing to put up with the bugs and other issues that come with an unfinished OS preview.

For these types of users that are still curious about the future of Android, the solution has been to download apps that are designed to give an Android L-like experience on existing stable versions of Android. One of these such apps is the Android L Keyboard, which arrived unofficially to Google Play back in late June thanks to the efforts of developer Shen Ye. For those that already downloaded the app, consider yourself lucky, after 800,000 downloads it has now been pulled from Google Play.

The reason for removal is that the app has been found to be in violation of “section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement”. Simply put, the Android L Keyboard wasn’t a “look-alike” of the keyboard found in Android L — it was ripped from the preview and modified to work on any Android 4.0+ device. Considering Android L’s keyboard is really Google Keyboard 3.1.20006 with a Material Design theme, it really isn’t too surprising that this happened.

For those that have rooted devices, there are still other side-loading methods and it’s probably only a matter of time before Shen Ye’s keyboard APK makes its way to the net through other channels. What do you think, was Google well within its rights here or should they have let this one slide?

  • Ryu

    I’m sure you can already download the APK somewhere.

    • MasterMuffin

      Just need to find a person you can trust, because dem permissions doe

      • WestFiasco


      • Jayfeather787

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        • MasterMuffin

          “Used” always makes me suspicious

          • Jayfeather787


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          • Nathan Buffington

            How about you give me your social security number and we’ll call it even

  • Jayfeather787
  • Yes I beleive Google is within its legal rights for sure. I also beleive it was great publicity for Google aswell though. It helps build some hype and increase anticipation for the real thing. I am ever weary of Google adopting the apple attitude though. By that I mean not sharing freely, Apple is very touchy about who can use their designs. Android at its heart was open scource and to me that kinda equates to public access. If that stops being true and Google adopts the “greedy child” mentality that Apple is all about then I don’t know if I can maintain loyalty in the face of such immaturity.

    • David Gabel

      However, Apple tried this with VLC, taking the VLC Opensource code and tweaking the name and logo to spin it (and sell it monitarily) as an Apple app. VLC won in court as Apple violated the GPL that VLC falls under. This keyboard issue may have fallen into a similar realm and that is why Google pulled it. I can’t say with certainty as I’ve not seen his app in the Play store before (first time hearing about it)

    • MasterMuffin

      It’s the exact same app. It’s like taking any app, modifying it to work with other versions of Android and then uploading it back to Google Play. It’s against their rules (obviously), so Google needs to take it down

    • gommer strike

      Well to be fair, there are some rules even in the open source community. Meaning you can’t just rip somebody else’s work off and them just stamp your name on it(which some here are saying, that’s what this fella kinda did).

      Maybe if he said something like “this is Google’s Android L keyboard, all I’m doing is providing it free to download” maybe it would have been totally cool.

      If you leave Android/iOS hypothetically speaking, there’s Windows Phone and Blackberry.

      • xoj_21

        well not like he got any profit from it, now if he did thats wrong

  • Eddy Nelson Lopez

    You can still download it on aptoide so no problem at all!!

  • Eddy Nelson Lopez
  • Saifullah Awan

    Lol!! i already installed it on my phone from playstore a week ago…now google cant remove the app from my phone..:D

  • Jakeyehnj

    It’s alright SwiftKey is way bettering anyways

    • Jakeyehnj

      Better *

      • jokesonyou

        haha is that right?

      • David

        Did you type that using SwiftKey?

  • MeanDroid

    Picking up one app and renaming the package without changing the app and after that, having the audacity to post the app in the play store to receive credits for the work that you didn’t done… Sorry but I call that Piracy.

    The reason why the app was removed from the Play Store is because the pirate wannabe developer is a phoney.

    The original L Keyboard apk from Google works on any device JB and above and so does the Google Launcher with voice activation.

    You can change the package and rename it after that to receive the credits.
    Good for you.

    But receiving credits for changing only the name of the package, is wrong.

    Or should we all just start to rename other apps and post them on the Play Store for the sake of receiving the credits?!

    • DJ SPY

      Care to tell me why it won’t install on my Droid Maxx?

  • akki0920

    i formatted my S3, then couldn’t find the Android L app on PlayStore. Google it got an APK. No Problems when it’s Android.

  • Foosa Noble

    I love this keyboard its a shame it has been pulled. Its one of the best if not the best keyboard to date. Right up there with swift key

    • Gamer0

      Wait until the actual final release of Android L OS then you’ll get to use it again.

  • Fabian Taveras

    Looks like I’m a lucky fella I got the Android L keyboard on my tablet and phone

    • notzippy

      Yes it does have emocons, they are just tricky to find – hold the green key down then its just a slide to the left…
      (and then a step to the right, put your hands on your hips ….)

      • Fabian Taveras

        Lol son of a bitch last time I went lookin for them all I found where text faces like this :-) thanks

  • Randall Vestal

    Luckily I’m using it still right now. It’s a good one

  • Randall Vestal


  • 303

    Didn’t knew it was pulled out XD, Kinda sad about it but hey, i still have the last updated version of it :)

  • Al

    Good! He deserved it! All he did was change the name, the work wasn’t his! Stupid Asians sometimes

  • David Onter

    1. You don’t need root to download/install the .apk file ;)
    2. Why was it pulled? I thought the Keyboard was a part of stock Android and there are also other mods of the Stock keyboard on the Play Store 0.o
    And the App made sense, since you didn’t need to remove the system-keyboard (and have root access) because the package name is different :/