Protection PLUS 5 Android Edition: The next-generation software licensing toolkit is coming soon for Android developers

By Mike Wozniak | Releases

Oct 08

Inspired by many of the same powerful technologies and experiences that have made Protection PLUS 4 the licensing system of choice for thousands of software developers for over 20 years, the Protection PLUS 5 API is an all new, built-from-the-ground-up (yes, we actually went back to the proverbial drawing board!) addition to the SoftwareKey family of software licensing solutions.

The SoftwareKey development team took all that we have learned from our customers and the industry over the many years we have been in business and created a next-generation Application Programming Interface (API) that is consistent over the Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. Our design allowed us to extend this API to the Android platform, so we are happy to announce that the Protection PLUS 5 Android Edition is officially in alpha release!

Protection PLUS 5 Android Edition Licensing Library Features

Since we were able to leverage the field-proven Protection PLUS 5 APIs that have been employed by many software developers, we are able to extend the same dynamic features on the Android platform, such as:

Primary licensing features, which allow your applications to:
  • Create time, number of executions, and/or feature-limited evaluation/trial licenses
  • Generate subscription-based licenses that expire unless periodically renewed
  • Introduce pay-per-use or other consumption-based licenses
  • Assemble feature-based (modular) applications where every customer receives a customized set of features
  • Distribute different editions (e.g., Gold/Silver/Platinum) with the same installer
  • Read encrypted and digitally-signed license files, using XML format for incredible flexibility and extensibility
  • Employ read-only and writable license files to balance security and flexibility for different licensing approaches
  • Use fingerprinting to detect copying and control the number of devices allowed per license
  • Incorporate full integration with SoftwareKey SOLO Server and its wide array of compelling features
  • Design other types of licenses, many of which are discussed in this SoftwareKey Blog post
Flexible Electronic License Activation features, which:
  • Allow customers to immediately enable software licenses
  • Send custom license parameters during activation with near-limitless extensibility
  • Extend an evaluation or subscription-based license for an additional period of time
  • Permit access to selected modules of a modular application (additional modules may be activated later)
  • Facilitate conversion of upgrades (e.g., immediately move up to the Platinum Edition from the Gold Edition upon receipt of payment)
  • Provide multiple activation methods, via:
    • Direct online activation
    • Indirect activation through nearby computer with Internet access for disconnected devices
    • Downloadable license files from the SOLO Server customer license portal
    • Volume activation with no device fingerprinting
Maintain control of activated applications with Electronic License Management through the use of:
  • License file “refreshes” to update license data whenever a change is made on the server
  • All standard and custom license parameters, which are mirrored from server to client with each activation method
  • License transfers from one device to another
  • License revocation from server
  • Periodic license validation with central license server (SOLO Server)

Our initial alpha release of the Protection PLUS 5 Android Edition licensing library includes our core licensing APIs. The developer has the ability to integrate the licensing user interface inside of their application as they deem most appropriate. A sample application is included for reference purposes. A future version of Protection PLUS 5 Android Edition will include more refined, pre-built activities you can re-use in your applications.

System Requirements and Supported Devices

Runtime

  • Android API Level 8 (2.2) and higher is required.
  • 32-bit ARMv7 and Intel x86 (Atom) architectures are supported. Contact us if you need to support an architecture not listed here.

Development

  • The Android SDK is required for development.
  • Supported IDEs include:
    • Eclipse with ADT plug-in (typically bundled with the Android SDK).
    • Android Studio beta
    • IntelliJ IDEA

Devices Tested

Aside from testing with emulators available with the Android SDK, the libraries were tested with the following physical devices:

  • Google Nexus 4
  • Google Nexus 5
  • Google Nexus 7
  • Barnes & Noble Nook HD+
  • LG Optimus L7 (P705)
  • LG Spectrum (vs920)

Comparisons to the Google Play Licensing service

Google Play offers a licensing service that lets you enforce licensing policies for applications that you publish on Google Play. Here are some reasons to choose the SoftwareKey System over this service:

  • LVL (License Verification Library) requires Google Play in order to work. Not all Android Devices (e.g. Amazon, Samsung) have Google Play installed by default. If you sell on more than one Android device store, then the SoftwareKey System can give you a unified approach that works on any Android Device, independent of Google Play.
  • With the required use of Google Play, license purchases through the Google Play Store mean you’re subject to Google taking its cut.
  • If you make an application that runs on multiple platforms (e.g. Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, etc…), then we have one system that covers them all. If you use LVL, you’re making an Android-specific implementation that cannot be reused on any other platform.

A few other tidbits of information worthy of your consideration…..

  • Large companies like Adobe and Microsoft have both shifted to a Software as a Service (SaaS) / subscription-based recurring revenue stream model for some of their main products. This demonstrates where the market is headed!
  • There is no doubt that mobile application marketplaces have established — if you will excuse the metaphor — a genuine cash cow earning upwards of 30% of all revenues purchased through their app stores!
  • SoftwareKey not only allows software publishers to dive into the online market, but we also have numerous customers offering subscription-based licensing using our turnkey solution without having to give up such a high percentage of their revenue.
  • We all know that the combination of mobile, cloud services, subscription-based services, and recurring billing have HUGE potential. That’s an indisputable fact!

The SoftwareKey Team is so incredibly excited about this early release of the Protection PLUS 5 Android Edition! We welcome all Android developers — particularly those who are looking to add sophisticated licensing features such as Electronic License Activation™ and Electronic License Management™ to help increase revenues and maintain control of their valuable Intellectual Property — to contact us to evaluate Protection PLUS 5 Android Edition today!

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About the Author

Mike Wozniak is one of the co-founders of SoftwareKey.com and responsible for marketing, content and product strategy. When he isn’t plotting new ways to help customers solve licensing and business automation challenges, he likes to travel and entertain guests who come to visit the Orlando area. He also writes most of the licensing tips here.