You know how whenever you pick up an Android phone, it comes preloaded with Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube and other key Google apps? Well, it’s not like that everywhere in the world. In fact, in China it’s quite common to find Android phones that have no native Google apps on them.
The reason for this is because many of these Chinese vendors are only using the free-to-use Android Open Source Platform (AOSP) and aren’t paying for the Google Mobile Services (GMS) package that gives them access to all of Google’s hugely popular mobile apps. This means that many of the dirt-cheap Android phones being sold in many countries aren’t really beneficial to Google because it can’t collect precious data from them or serve them ads.
With this as a background, The Information reports that Google is “taking steps to curtail the proliferation of smartphones powered by open-source Android, which left unchecked could threaten Google’s revenue from the mobile operating system” and is now “simplifying the process for lesser-known device makers to get certified to distribute the advanced version of Android, something that has been a barrier in the past.”
Google might also be under pressure to make its GMS package completely free for OEMs to use as well, especially since Microsoft has now made Windows Phone completely free to use on any devices with displays that are 9 inches or smaller.