The developer of the open source email client FairEmail pulled all of his applications from Google Play and announced that he would stop development.
FairEmail was a popular email client for Google’s Android operating system that was free to use. It was privacy-friendly, had no limitations in regards to email accounts that users could set up in the app, supported unified inbox, conversation threading, two-way synchronizing, support for OpenPGP, and a lot more.
Marcel Bokhorst, the developer of the application, announced major changes to the project yesterday on XDA Developers. According to the thread on the forum, Bokhorst pulled all of his applications from the Google Play store and announced that he would stop supporting and maintaining them.
Earlier that week, Bokhorst received a policy violation email from Google stating that Google believed that the FairEmail application was spyware. The full statement has not been published, but Bokhorst believes that Google might have misinterpreted the use of favicons in the app. He resubmitted a new version of the application that had the use of favicons removed.
The appeal he received as a response “resulted in a standard answer”. While the content of the answer is unclear, it appears to have been a generic answer that Google Play Store developers have been frustrated with for a long time.
Bokhorst decided to pull the application and all of his other applications from the Google Play Store. The apps won’t be maintained and supported anymore according to the info.
Other factors played a role in Bokhorst’s decision, including the discrepancy between answering thousands of support questions per month and the application’s revenue, and the inability to do something against unfair reviews in the Google Play Store.
He considered keeping the applications on GitHub, but this would result in an 98% loss of audience.
The GitHub repositories are still available but archived. Users may still download the latest release from the repository and install it on their devices. The unsupported apps will continue to work but there won’t be any future updates anymore. Eventually, the apps may stop working altogether.
The application could get forked and another developer could take over the development of the application. Whether that is a realistic scenario remains to be seen, considering that the Google Play Store policy violation is still looming over the app.
FairEmail users may continue using the application for the foreseeable future, even with it pulled from Google Play. FairEmail’s developer is not the first who experienced the often unfriendly nature of the Google Play Store policy violation restoration process.
If you’re looking for an alternative email client, you can try K-9 Mail, it is also open source.
It is not a good day for Android apps, Total Commander’s developer was forced by Google to remove the ability to install APKs from the File Manager.
Now You: did you use FairEmail?