Will the Adult Industry Drive Android Adoption?

Will the Adult Industry Drive Android Adoption?

Summary: The Adult Entertainment industry drove the adoption of DVD and the streaming media technologies that everyone now enjoys and takes for granted on the Internet. Will pioneering in mobile porn also accelerate adoption of Google's Android mobile OS?

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The Adult Entertainment industry drove the adoption of DVD and the streaming media technologies that everyone now enjoys and takes for granted on the Internet. Will pioneering in mobile porn also accelerate adoption of Google's Android mobile OS?

Back in September of 2008 I said that Android's strength had nothing to do with the OS's innate "sexiness", in that it didn't need to have the iPhone's sex appeal in order for it to succeed. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe what it needs to truly take off is sex, period.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

Early last week, startup MiKandi launched a 3rd-party app store for Android phones which will allow any developer to sell adult-oriented content for the Google Android platform, which includes devices such as the Verizon/Motorola DROID, the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G and the Samsung Moment/HTC Hero on Sprint.

So far, there isn't much in terms of raciness to look at on MiKandi. The app store has only just been released for 3rd-parties to "plug in", so to speak. As of today, it only has a single demo app, Dildroid, which controls the intensity of an Android device's vibrator function.

What's important here, however, is not what applications MiKandi offers now but what it promises for the future, which is the ability for there to be MANY independent app stores for Android phones, which could be targeted towards different industries and audiences.

What's to stop Mikandi from using their same app store platform that they might use to distribute porn for say, religious material? Or sports-oriented content? Or cooking and restaurant related material? Or for scientific and academic purposes? Or ebooks?

The prospects for expanding into diversified markets on Android are larger than on any other mobile platform available today, because "censoring" or rigorous and controlled app approval processes tied to a single vendor -- such as those that exist on the iPhone -- do not exist on the Android platform. And they probably never will.

Sure, it's possible and perhaps even inevitable that eventually Google's own Android Market may decide for the sake of quality control to start evaluating applications, and might want to keep Adult material off its own app store, which ships by default with every device. Which is perfectly understandable, since even kids are getting smartphones now.

It might even make sense to embed parental controls or a system policy (like those that can be deployed on BlackBerry) which would allow the user or organization to prevent certain types of "rated" content or apps from being installed on the device or block third party app stores from being installed on the unit. If I were a corporation and were rolling the device out to thousands of employees, I wouldn't want them looking at porn on company time. It would also make sense to create some sort of open standard which allows Android apps to be tagged or rated which flags them as adult material.

However, because Android is an open system and allows the ability for 3rd-party app installation (a feature that currently you have to turn on in the system Settings to enable) there's nothing to stop premium Adult content providers, such as Playboy, Penthouse and Vivid from working with companies like MiKandi to provide quality produced erotica for mobile.

It's also entirely possible that these companies and others could also license Mikandi's platform (or someone else's) to launch app stores of their own so they can control the quality or flavor of what they produce.  I can certainly see the emergence of gay and lesbian-oriented app stores, or even fetish-specialized, which are targeted towards specific audiences and tastes.

The freedoms of choice with Android would be unlimited. Want to see attractive Asian (or Russian) women (or men) dress up as nurses (or lumberjacks) and engaging in a specific act? Tagging features and "channels" will allow you to select from thousands of apps  to find exactly what you want. The very same tagging technology could be used for purposes OTHER than pornography, but it will be porn that drives the technology and the apps to the maturity level needed to do everything else that every regular Android consumer needs.

What I see occurring with Android is not unlike how other technologies were advanced by the adult industry, such as VHS tapes, DVD video, and streaming Internet multimedia and content distribution. It can be argued that NONE of these technologies would have been so heavily adopted if it wasn't for the Adult film and content industry embracing their openness, a quality that is shared by Android and its ability to run 3rd-party content without restriction. The YouTube clips and Vimeos that you enjoy of your pets and kids doing cute and completely innocent things? You've got porn to thank for it.

Will porn help Android mature as a mobile content and application delivery platform? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

[poll id="18"]

Topics: Mobile OS, Android, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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Talkback

45 comments
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  • Oh come on Jason.

    Porn can be received on the iPhone/iPod Touch to.

    Try going to

    www.youporn.com

    on your browser or mobile web browser.
    AdventTech67
    • Not as apps.

      Web sites, sure. But not as apps.
      jperlow
      • Sorry, not really a real distinguishing feature?

        Your research failed to find that a 'vibrator' app is already available in the App
        Store (http://tinyurl.com/y97rjhc)

        Further than that, Apple themselves have been pushing web apps that can be
        installed on the iPhone and run offline, without any interference from Apple
        since the very introduction of the first gen phone. http://tinyurl.com/ydnajh9

        So any successfull 'specialist' applications for Android are most likely to be
        available for the 50m + iPhone OS users too.
        Ken Fegore
        • The "Vibrator" app

          Simply adjusts the rate of haptic feedback, so there is little reason for apple to reject it.

          ACTUAL Adult content would get thrown off the app store with extreme prejudice. And not all of them necessarily would be web apps. Some of them might be specialized streaming media apps, some of them interactive, or whatever.
          jperlow
          • I think you are underestimating?

            What will be possible with web apps. Streaming and 'interactivity' certainly won't
            be a problem?

            Edited to add:

            I also think that the article is based on a rather old fashioned view of what a
            successful x-rated app might be. Apps like "passion" and "Grindr" show that
            Apple is certainly not prudish. And the hardcore Market will almost certainly be
            covered with web apps which, if necessay can run as 'proper' apps run offline
            on the Phone.

            I really feel that the Android advocacy should not rely too much an the
            advantage of the delivery of porn to beat the iPhone...
            Ken Fegore
          • I'm pretty sure it would be rejected...

            ...based on the name alone. C'mon... "Dildroid?" Of course, I'm assuming they'd come up with something suggestive and clever for the iPhone.

            I think an important message here is that the open nature of the Android platform does allow you to do things that aren't done... and WON'T be done, on the iPhone simply because Apple has turned into the scowling image of Big Brother from their own 1984 commercial.
            dave.leigh@...
      • Why pay for the app?

        If anything porn at youporn.com is free, & so are many other porn sites.
        How will the android capitalize on the idea of porn if many can get it
        FREE without the android?
        AdventTech67
        • Capitulate?

          I think you mean "capitalize".

          There are many ways to capitalize on "free" services. For instance, Facebook makes gobs of money. It's a mistake to imagine it's all from ads. (http://tinyurl.com/yeshxwx)

          I just took a look at YouPorn's and it's pretty obvious that they're fueling the freebies with premium memberships. So, as your premise that anything is free is wrong, so is your implied conclusion, that you can get anything there for free without the Android.

          I can think of a way to capitalize this app on the Android off the top of my head. In much the same way that the Facebook app streamlines the user interface of a site that quite frankly is usable through any browser, a YouPorn app could do the same. Offer it to premium members only and you've both monetized the app and gotten recurring income for the site. Two birds with one stone. People can and do pay for this stuff.
          dave.leigh@...
          • Facebook makes "mystical money"

            Check your facts. The only time Facebook actually made money was when it was sold.

            Check the wiki --- even there they claim that the only time they turned some real cash flow was in September 2009 ... a few weeks ago.
            wackoae
          • REAL money.

            Check your own facts. They've only now become profitable, but they're pulling in around a half a billion dollars in revenue this year, and that's gobs of money. This isn't a failure to monetize the product; more like lack of patience on your part.

            With this type of business it takes time to reap the investment. As I mentioned elsewhere, Amazon.com went about SEVEN YEARS before they saw a profit. Once they did, they continued to grow: last year they saw $645 million income from over $19 billion in revenue. There's every reason to conclude that a similar growth pattern will apply to Facebook.

            But for social networking sites it takes a LOT of users to generate that revenue. And as more users come on-board they're attracting more local advertising (money which is more effectively spent on-line rather than in local papers that fewer people read, so long as you can target the users, which Facebook does). That's in addition to the money Facebook gets from "virtual products" (which is basically money for nothing).

            The point is that they CAN and DO monetize a "free" service, and they do it in such a way that brings in a lot of revenue; a lot of revenue GROWTH; and will reap huge benefits in the long term. So no, it's not "mystical" money. It's a real return on a long-term investment.
            dave.leigh@...
    • SexAppShop for iPhone?

      I agree with AdvenTech67 but prefer http://sexappshop.com because
      you can download the apps for offline viewing even on iPod touch!!!
      pintadaydoc
  • Erotic phones?

    There's a vibrate app for that.
    Mac Hosehead
    • I thought that vibrating action...

      ...was the iPhone looking for a 3G connection? ]:)
      mgp3
      • After this, I'm not borrowing anyone's phone

        I just don't know where it's been.
        Mac Hosehead
        • I'm pretty sure you do.

          [b][i]I just don't know where it's been.[/i][/b]

          I'm pretty sure you do... now.
          dave.leigh@...
        • Just be sure to wash your hands

          before eating anything, or don't wash your hand whichever the case may be.
          Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • If porn arouses AndroidOS too much.....

      it will no longer fit in that little phone. It might need a huge workstation ;-)
      Economister
  • Open Source, Open Platform, Open To All

    The "Walled Garden" does not allow TRUE choice. It is a limited menu and not a buffet.

    The freedom to use a device that you own in any way you see fit will win out over the "big brother" control freak system.

    Apple has become the very thing they fought against and used to loath. Android will capture the hearts and minds of users and developers. Open Source and Open Platform will win out over any closed system.
    sismoc
    • Good luck with your wish.

      All of this is open, & all of that is open, just like Linux on the desktop. We
      all know very well how that's going.
      AdventTech67
    • Remember when Apple...

      ...offered computers with doors on them and openly documented slots, encouraging people to not only write software, but to hack together hardware extensions as well?

      Then came the 1984 ad. And the Mac. And the doors closed.

      Now it's 2009, and we learn that the Orwell book we should have paid attention to was [i]Animal Farm,[/i] not [i]1984[/i]. Now the pigs are running the farm. Or, if you prefer, Apple challenged Big Brother just to set themselves up in his place.
      dave.leigh@...