What Google’s changes in Android mean to Indian users

Android is changing in India, with Google now complying with the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) October 2022 order, which fines the company for abusing its dominant market position. . Google has said it will appeal the order, and is preparing to do so. Major overhaul of Android features in India.

But what exactly are these changes and how will they affect users and smartphone manufacturers (or original equipment manufacturer OEMs)?

The following Android phones may not come with the Google app pre-installed

Most Android smartphones come pre-installed with a set of Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Chrome, GPay and Google Maps. Smartphone developers must obtain an Android license from Google. One of the terms of use is that the app contains: Google’s App Suite. This changes. According to Google’s blog post on the matter, “OEMs will now be able to license individual Google apps for pre-installation on devices.” disappears.

But keep in mind that most Android phones, regardless of price range, come with some apps pre-installed, and not all of them are made by Google. Many of these other apps pushed by manufacturers don’t add any value to users. These are commonly referred to as “bloatware” and are likely to continue to be used on most phones.

The CCI order also clarifies that Google cannot force OEMs to install apps as a condition of licensing the Play Store (including Google Play Services).

Google search will no longer be the default option

This is perhaps one of the most significant blows to Google’s market dominance. Google Search is the default option on most Android phones. The Google search bar is usually displayed prominently on your home screen. However, this change will allow users in India to set another search engine as their default option instead of being limited to just Google.

According to the blog post, this new screen appears “when a user sets up a new Android smartphone or tablet in India.” Google didn’t say when the change would start rolling out, or whether it would apply to phones already on the market.

“Fork” is Coming

This is another major change, with Google saying it will update “Android compatibility requirements” to allow partners to “build incompatible or forked variants.” Simply put, there are two kinds of him on the fork. One is compatible, built on the same Android open source project, adheres to certain terms of service set by Google, and has access to Google’s Play services as well.

“Incompatible” cannot access Play services, including the Google Play Store. Google apps can be sideloaded into these forks and other variants.

Note that an incompatible fork is not the same as the custom “skin” or operating system (OS) found on most Android phones. For example, Xiaomi phones come with his MIUI, Samsung phones come with OneUI, while Oppo and Realme devices have “ColorOS” on top of “stock” or plain Android is installed. OEMs add their own app stores, features, custom wallpapers, etc. to the device while continuing with Google Play Services. However, incompatible “forks” do not have access to Play Services, Google’s primary source of revenue.

The CCI order is Google’s OEMs or competitors may not be denied access to Play Services. You need to ensure the compatibility of your “fork” app. It also says that app developers should easily port their apps to “forked” versions of his Android.

User-selected billing

This change will start next month and developers will welcome it. Give users the option to “choose a different billing system alongside Google Play’s billing system when purchasing in-app digital content”. Google calls it a “user-chosen billing system,” which frees developers from paying high commissions (15-30%) to companies for digital sales and in-app purchases.

This “fee” is a focal point of contention between developers and Google as well as Apple. Note that in South Korea, the law already compels Google to allow this change. In South Korea, the commission rate drops from 15% to 11% when developers offer their own payment methods. The exact amount for the Indian developer was not disclosed, but Google said “reasonable service fees will continue to apply to alternative billing systems.”

Sideloading made “easier”

Sideloading is a controversial issue, but it’s always been possible on Android. Not allowed on iOS and iPadOS. However, Google appears to be making changes to “Android’s installation flow and auto-update functionality for sideloaded apps and app stores.” It makes installing these sideloaded apps “easier”, but I’m not sure exactly how. Google usually warns when a user is sideloading apps on her Android. Developers often talk about such apps being treated like viruses by Google systems and warning users.

Third-party app stores already present in most mobile phones in India also support automatic app updates. The update bits are important given that possible security issues can be fixed in a timely manner.

When will these changes take effect?

The blog post doesn’t specify an exact date when these changes will take effect, but they may start soon. Technically, the CCI order he took effect on January 19th. Google had previously appealed the CCI’s order to the National Court of Appeals for Corporate Law (NCLAT), but the NCLAT refused to stay the same. He then filed a case in the Supreme Court against the NCLAT order.But The Supreme Court offered no relief. Google has been asked to deposit 10% of the Rs 1,337 crore fine with CCI.

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