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Android phones in this country could be very different from global markets

The changes include only one pre-installed Google app, a search engine choice screen on setup, and more.

Published onFebruary 20, 2023

samsung galaxy s23 ultra google apps
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • A tipster has outlined how Indian Android devices could differ from global markets.
  • Smartphone makers would apparently only need to install the Play Store.
  • Phones in India could let users choose a default search engine on setup too.

Google has been forced to make a raft of changes to Android in India after a ruling by the country’s competition watchdog. Now, it looks like a leaker has uncovered a major change to Android’s licensing terms in the market.

Tipster and code sleuth Kuba Wojciechowski claimed to have obtained access to Google documentation that shows how Android phones in India could differ from global devices.

Kuba Wojciechowski IMADA
Twitter/Kuba Wojciechowski

More specifically, Wojciechowski says India will receive a version of Google Mobile Services (GMS) with optional Google apps. This would form part of a so-called Indian Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (IMADA) between OEMs and Google, differing from the regular MADA terms in other markets.

The standard agreement requires the pre-installation of 11 key Google apps, according to the tipster, while the IMADA only requires the installation of the Google Play Store. In saying so, Google will purportedly offer a “per-app bounty” to smartphone makers who pre-install any of these 11 apps.

Would you buy a phone with no pre-installed Google apps?

1001 votes

The Indian agreement also doesn’t require smartphone makers to include a Google search bar, Google app folder, or Play Store icon on the main screen. Finally, Wojciechowski asserts that the IMADA will follow Europe by allowing Indian users to choose their default search engine during the setup process. This option will apparently be in place from Q2 2023.

Not in India? Then it seems like standard agreements will still be in effect for you, as phones that use the IMADA and therefore have these changes will only be available in India.

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