Warning: Simple Mobile Tools sold to controversial ZipoApps publisher
Simple Mobile Tools, a collection of free and open source applications for Android, will soon be owned by the controversial publisher ZipoApps.
All Simple Mobile Tools have a few things in common: they are open source, free, and extremely well designed and optimized for specific tasks. We reviewed several of the apps in the past, including Simple Keyboard and Simple Gallery Pro. All apps are available on F-Droid and also Google Play. Pro versions of apps on Google Play are available for a price, while they are free on F-Droid.
It looks as if Simple Mobile Tools will soon have a new owner. The lead developer and project owner confirmed that a sale is in process on the project's main GitHub page. While sales are not uncommon, it often matters to whom something is sold, as it determines the future direction of development.
In this case, it is ZipoApps that looks to become the new owner. The company is notorious for acquiring apps, adding advertisement and tracking, and premium options to them to increase revenue.
On its website, ZipaApps describes what it does in one perfect sentence: "We are ZipoApps, we acquire the best apps and take them to the next level". It describes itself as the "world's leading yielding apps company" and that it understands "how to monetize mobile apps". Users fear now that the same fate will befall Simple Mobile Tools. Free apps of the project on Google Play already include the "contains ads" label.
Simple Mobile Tools alternatives
As soon as the word broke that Simple Mobile Tools might be sold, a fork of all apps was created. Naveen Singh, a contributor of the original project, has forked all apps under the new name Fossify and promised to maintain them.
There is also this thread on Reddit that lists alternatives for each of the Simple Mobile Tools apps.
There is little chance that Simple Mobile Tools stays the same if the apps are sold to ZipaApps. The most likely outcome then is that ads are introduced as well as premium subscription options. The F-Droid listings won't be updated anymore and will stop working eventually.
Users may switch to forks, but the system is lucrative enough for companies to pursue it.
If you run Simple Mobile Tools from Google Play, you may want to keep a good eye on their updates, as these may introduce changes that you may not agree with.
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