Argos MyTablet

'MyTablet' maker enters liquidation after Argos withholds £3.2m over lack of GMS license, The Guardian reports

Penryth, Wales-based hardware maker KMS has entered liquidation after a row with high street retailer Argos over use of Google Mobile Services on tablets without the proper license, according to The Guardian. KMS manufactured Argos' £99 "MyTablet" slate — released late last year along with a flurry of other low-priced Android tablets from UK retailers — as well as other low-cost Android tablets.

The newspaper reports that Argos withheld payments of £3.2 million ($5.3 million) from KMS after it discovered the company had loaded Google Mobile Services — the package including Maps, Gmail and the Play Store — onto its tablets without a license from Google. While the core Android OS is free and open-source, Google's proprietary services and apps are not, and manufacturers must obtain a GMS license in order to legally load them onto devices.

KMS sources speaking to The Guardian claim that Argos refused to let them obtain licensing from Google after the fact, or remove the offending software from devices. A former KMS director is quoted as saying "it is highly unlikely the company will ever come back." A statement from Argos said the chain was "deeply disappointed that [KMS] breached certain provisions in their agreement to supply products," adding that it was unable to comment further due to "potential legal proceedings."

The shuttering of KMS has resulted in more than 70 job losses, according to today's report.

The Argos MyTablet isn't the only super-cheap Android tablet to find itself in hot water over failure running Google apps without the appropriate license. Back in November, Carphone Warehouse's £49 "Avoca" tablet was reportedly withdrawn from sale after manufacturer STB Developments was found to have loaded Google apps on the slate without a GMS license.

Source: The Guardian


Reader comments

Tablet maker goes bust after row with retailer over Google services


And 5 others will pop up. Nothing lost

This post approved by the NSA.... at least I hope so.

How many of those 70 knew they were shipping without proper licensing?
I think the entire _world_ knows by know that you _have_ to have a license to ship with Google services. It's brought up at least once a week here on AC, for instance.

I still think is shady of Argos to withhold payments to KMS over 75¢ per device or to fix their mistake. As if someone in Argos didn't know all this time what they were doing. I bet that KMS is only a ghost subsidiary just fabricated to take the blame. Shame if it wasn't, shame if it is.

I guess I have questions before I would say what Argos did was shady. Did they return the inventory?
Depending on how the process shook out, I can't really blame them for deciding to cancel an order and not pay. They were likely susceptible to lawsuit if they continued selling the devices without licences. As far as not giving KMS the chance to correct things, I might be pissed if I were Argos and a manufacturer created liability for me, and probably subsequently lose faith in them.

Doubtful that it's shady, by lying KMS would violated their contract with Argos and also they would have allowed Google to sue Argos over the lack of licensing.

I actually did not know that you had to have a license for GMS, then again i dont manufacture Android devices.

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Same boat as you pal! So you can't ship units with GMS but end users can download GMS anyway?

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End users can, but manufacturers can't pre-load it.

And yea, the average individual might not know that a license is necessary, but there's really no excuse for an actual manufacturer to not know. I think this is a prime example of ignorance not being a suitable excuse.

I knew that manufacturers could not load it without a license. It's mentioned all the time with talk of cheap tablets.
I thought there were measure in place by Google to even prevent the play store from being loaded on those devices by users.

There are, but Android (base OS) quite open and those measures are not terribly difficult to circumvent, if you have even the slightest idea what you're doing. And know how to do a Google search :)

I'm Sure Google would have been More Than Happy to have their services on them. Google would be receiving revenue from it with consumers using Google services. Sounds win win to me. A simple letter or agreement with Google would of solved that and probably without any licensing fees, just a few rules and guidelines to follow.

I'm willing to bet that many of those 70 ppl had no control over the situation. That shit is handled by the ones in charge, so the ones in charge should suffer, not the ones under them who were only trying to do their jobs.

Being paid minimum wage on a manufacturing floor I don't think you or anybody else would really care about what's really being loaded onto the tablets, all you're there for is your paycheck. Should they be the price of executive greed?

Carphone Warehouse had a similar issue with Avoca. Their tablets were dire so I was well chuffed when mine mysteriously "broke" and they changed it for a Nexus 7 :D

They would have been better donating to a dev for a rom.....trouble would still ensue I'm sure

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Pretty sure this also affects "Versus" tablets you get from Curry's/PC world, as they are also KMS.

Feel sorry for those who lose their jobs.

I would feel sorry for them if they didn't use shoddy business practices. Don't play by the rules? You deserve to go down.

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lol @Alex, most Americans have never heard the term "row" used like this before. It's one of those things you Brits use all the time but makes no sense to us. :) We can discern what you mean, though - just providing feedback.

Lol. Yeah, actually threw me for a second, until I realized it was a headline from the "resident Brit" ;)

Wow. I did not know that OEMs had to pay a GMS license for Maps, Gmail and the Play Store. I wonder how much Goodle charges.

I just feel bad for the low level employees who had no idea that the company had not properly licensed the services, if there were any. They got totally screwed and probably didnt see it coming till it was too late.