In the Android Market terms of service, Google expressly says that it might remotely remove an application from user phones. "Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement ... in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion," the terms, linked to from the phone, read.
That item is one of a few hints of things to come in the "About phone" section of the device, which also alludes to some hitherto unknown people and companies that were instrumental in developing the software.
The G1, the first phone to run the Android software developed by Google, goes on sale Oct. 22, and many people are getting their first in-depth look at it because T-Mobile has loaned the devices to reporters. The Android Market is the online store accessible from the phone where users can download applications.
Android users might be more receptive to Google's remote kill switch than iPhone users were to Apple's for a couple of reasons. First, Google is being upfront about it. Apple didn't confirm the capability for the iPhone until days after a developer discovered it.
In addition, Google says that if it does remotely remove an application, it will try to get users their money back, a question that iPhone users have wondered about in the case of an iPhone application recall. Google said that it will make "reasonable efforts to recover the purchase price of the product ... from the original developer on your behalf." If Google fails to get the full amount back, it will divide what it gets among affected users.