FairEmail developer quits and removes apps from Google Play
The developer of the open source email client FairEmail has pulled all of its apps from Google Play and announced that it 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 on the email accounts users could set up in the app, supported a unified inbox, conversation threads, two-way sync, OpenPGP support, and much more.
Marcel Bokhorst, the app’s developer, announced major changes to the project yesterday on XDA Developers. According to the forum thread, Bokhorst pulled all of his apps from the Google Play store and announced that he would no longer support and maintain them.
Earlier that week, Bokhorst received a policy-violating email from Google stating that Google believed the FairEmail app to be spyware. The full statement has not been released, but Bokhorst believes that Google may have misunderstood the app’s use of favicons. He resubmitted a new version of the app that had the use of favicons removed.
The appeal he received in response “resulted in a standard response.” While the content of the response is unclear, it appears to have been a generic response that Google Play Store developers have been frustrated with for a long time.
Bokhorst decided to remove the app and all of his other apps from the Google Play Store. Applications will no longer be maintained or supported according to the information.
Other factors played a role in Bokhorst’s decision, including the discrepancy between answering thousands of support questions per month and the app’s revenue, and the inability to do anything about unfair reviews on the Google Play Store.
He considered keeping the apps on GitHub, but this would result in a 98% audience loss.
GitHub repositories are still available but archived. Users can still download the latest version from the repository and install it on their devices. Unsupported apps will continue to work, but there will be no future updates. Eventually, apps may stop working altogether.
The app could be forked and another developer could take over the development of the app. Whether that’s a realistic scenario remains to be seen, considering that the Google Play Store policy violation still looms over the app.
FairEmail users can continue to use the app for the foreseeable future, even if it is removed from Google Play. The developer of FairEmail is not the first to experience the often hostile nature of the Google Play Store policy violation restoration process.
If you are looking for an alternative email client, you can try K-9 Mail, it is also open source.
Not a good day for Android apps, Google forced the developer of Total Commander to remove the ability to install APKs from the File Manager.
Now you: Did you use FairEmail?