Falcon Pro hits Twitter auth token limit, high piracy rate

Falcon Pro hits Twitter auth token limit, high piracy rate

If you use Twitter on Android, chances are that you’ve heard of Falcon Widget and the sister app, Falcon Pro. Falcon Pro was one of our Highly Recommended applications in the Coolsmartphone 2012 Awards and with good reason – it boasts a wide variety of features and an excellent, intuitive UI.

However, with Twitter API v1.1, the company introduced a 100,000 user token limit for 3rd party client apps like Falcon Pro. This gives Twitter tighter control on how their API is used by others. Unfortunately, it also poses problems for developers like Joaquim Vergès, the Falcon Pro developer who has been continually improving the Falcon Pro experience for the past few months.

If Falcon Pro had hit the 100k user token limit in a legitimate manner, I daresay he would have been pretty happy. It sells for 64p here in the UK, meaning that it would net him a cool total of £64,000, which is excellent for under three months work. However, that isn’t the case – only 40,000 of his users actually paid for the app.

Now, Falcon Pro doesn’t support multiple user accounts because of the API limits outlined above – meaning that either a) his users are using different Twitter accounts on different devices linked up to the same Google Play Store account on a massive scale (unlikely, as I understand that one user account = one token regardless of the number of devices it is used on), or b) there could well be more users of his app that pirated it than actually purchased it.

That seems rather pathetic, really, considering that the app costs 64p, or roughly 1/373 of the price of a Nexus 4 here in the UK. I understand that some people may not have a credit card linked up to their Play Store account, but come on – it’s a Twitter client, there are many, many alternatives.

It’s issues like this that make apps like Falcon Pro a rarity – exceptional quality Android-first releases. It brings me back to something Jamie Ryan, an ex-writer here at Coolsmartphone, asked on Twitter a couple of weeks back – are there any high-profile cross-platform releases that came to Android first, rather than iOS? We couldn’t find any then and cases like this could be the reason why.

Joaquim Vergès has created a petition to increase the number of auth tokens allocated to Falcon Pro and I’d recommend signing it – time will tell if it is successful. You can sign the petition here.

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  • Anonymous

    That’s a real shame. I am amazed quite frankly – I had no idea piracy on the Android platform was such a problem. When developers are only charging 64p, there’s really no excuse for it either. Shame on who ever is doing this.

    • Jamie Hoyle

      I knew it was a problem but I didn’t realise the extent of it. There really is no excuse, especially given that alternative apps are available for free.

      • Anonymous

        The more I think about this, the less those numbers make sense. I think there must be something else at fault here – maybe the Twitter API? I honestly cannot believe that 60% of users are using the app illegitimately, and on such a large scale.

        I have a few friends who develop for mobile platforms, and they’ve never had anywhere near this piracy rate. One of them in particular, I remember ranting that he hit somewhere in the region of 4% on one of his bigger titles (which is a paid-for game). Not sure it was for Android, but he only does Android and iOS anyway. All of his games report into one of his game publisher’s servers which collect anonymous usage data, and can give a very real idea of piracy ratios.

        • Jamie Hoyle

          It could well be, I’m going off the downloads count in the Play Store and what the developer has said on Twitter. As I said in the article, it could be that some users have a one Twitter account on their phone and another (different, as the Twitter API treats one user as one key regardless of the number of times/devices it has been authorised to the best of my knowledge) account on their tablet.

          I would imagine that that use case is small (I have an alternate client on my phone for managing multiple accounts) but that could account for some of the discrepancy – but surely not anywhere near 60,000 additional accounts on separate devices.

  • patch

    glad i didnt go for a andriod device…. if they do this on a 64p app the rest will be robbed

    • Anonymous

      How does your personal choice of platform have any effect on piracy? Surely it would be better if you did have an Android device, but pay for your apps!

      • debully

        I really wouldn’t bother trying to reason with a fanboi.

  • dwx

    surely its the auth_0 token count from the users who got notified to change password and are still signed in with other devices..twittered issued those breaches more tokens after password changes. Users who did change passwords could still tweet with old auth