Google now forces Android phone makers to advertise Google services support

Google Play Store
Google Play Store (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google now mandates the promotion of Google apps compatibility on retail copies of compatible Android phones.
  • Xiaomi is the first retailer to adopt this change.
  • The move follows Huawei's exile from Google's Android even as the OEM pushes its own P-Series phones.

Google now requires OEMs to promote Google apps access on device packaging. As part of the new GMS licensing requirements, OEMs will now be including a message like "with easy access to the Google apps you use most" — or something along those lines.

Xiaomi (via XDA Developers), was the first company spotted using promotion tactic. The firm clarified its decision, saying:

We have noticed that there is a discussion on the latest copy of the packaging of Xiaomi mobile phone overseas market. In order to avoid misunderstanding, the explanation is as follows:

  1. This copy is from the promotion requirements of the partners in the latest cooperation agreement, similar to the "power by android" displayed on the Android phone and the "intel inside" on the computer.
  2. Because the previous version of the agreement between Xiaomi and its partners has expired, Xiaomi becomes the first batch of contracted manufacturers of the new version of the cooperation agreement, and is also the first manufacturer to release new products after it becomes effective.
  3. We hope that global mobile phone manufacturers can cooperate smoothly with all partners to create a richer ecosystem.

In other words, Android OEMs now have to directly specify whether they have Google Apps or not. It's likely prompted by Huawei's situation. In the past, all Android devices (with very few exceptions) sold in Europe and other non-Asian regions would presumably ship with the Google Play Store and Google Play Services pre-installed. Huawei, shipping a plurality of these devices, also sold its devices with Google's apps onboard. As the company may no longer do so, the potential for confusion and pandemonium now exists where there used to be clarity.

It's a new addition to the contract, Xiaomi is the first to adopt it due to what appears to be the recent expiration of its own GMS license. Other Android OEMs are likely to adopt it as the months go on.

What's bad for Huawei is good for companies like Xiaomi and Oppo

Michael Allison