November 2, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Several weeks ago, we received a tip that alternative Android app distributor SlideME would come pre-loaded onto HTC devices in Asia. Then Malaysian website Mobile88 noted in its review of the HTC Magic that the phone ships with SlideME rather than the Android Market. This is no fluke.
More HTC handsets are shipping with SlideME Application Manager (SAM) pre-installed, including the just launched HTC Magic on Vodafone Egypt. Possibly as a result of Google’s slow distribution of paid apps in other countries, SlideME is being preloaded on new HTC phones released in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Billing and partnership issues may have created roadblocks for Google and the Android Market, but people can’t wait around forever. HTC’s decision to support SlideME spells out the desire to address this issue quickly. The obvious downside to this solution is that SlideME doesn’t have nearly as many apps as the more than 10,000 offerings in the Android Market. Being preloaded onto new devices may help change that as this will be a huge boost to SlideME. Though it is a smaller alternative market, SlideME will become the default market for many users in the most-populated region of the world. That may encourage more developers to post their creations in the SlideME store.