Tests show Google Android Market accessible in UAE
Samsung Galaxy S and new HTC Desire provide access to the application store
The Android Market, which hasn't officially launched in the United Arab Emirates, is accessible in the country on certain Android phones, based on tests carried out by the Windows Middle East team.
The team were able to access, download and use free applications from the Android Market using the Samsung Galaxy S and the HTC Desire smartphone (which will soon be released in the UAE), despite Google's stance that local devices can't technically do that.
At the Galaxy S launch, Samsung stated the Android Market would come with the models slated for the Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar market, but not on models slated for UAE shelves.
The Windows team however received a UAE retail unit of the Galaxy S, which had the ‘Market' application included. It provided direct access to the Google app web store using Wi-Fi or a data connection, where only free apps were listed available for download.
A similar test on a review unit of the HTC Desire showed the same results, but access to the Market app using the Motorola Droid smartphone wasn't successful. The 'Market' app was also featured on the phone, but a connection wasn't established to the store.
When ITP.net approached Google to clarify why the Android Market was accessible on some Android handsets in the UAE but not others, they said the store is available in "dozens of countries" that are listed on their site and are "working hard to launch in additional countries".
The statement also added that: "Please note that until Android Market is launched in a country, it cannot appear on local devices."
Confusion lingers as Google's list of supported locations don't mention Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar either, or any other Middle Eastern country for that matter, save Israel.