For most of us, Android is more than just an open-source operating system, it’s a portal to awesome Google services like Google Maps, Google Play and so many others. In reality, AOSP Android doesn’t have any special Google services included by default, leaving it up to various OEMs to secure Google Play certification and make sure their software builds comply with Google’s standards.
Most Android devices found in major markets are going to be Google Certified, but that’s not necessarily the case in many emerging markets. The growth of AOSP Android devices goes way beyond just China, as new data indicates that as much as 30% of Android devices in several emerging markets are actually running open-source Android without officially certified Google apps. ABI Research claims that 65 million devices shipped globally with open-source Android in the second quarter of this year, up from 54 million in the first quarter.
Google is working to simplify the process for smaller handset makers looking to get certified
According to The Information, Google is hoping to combat AOSP Android’s growth in emerging markets so it can more effectively push its vision for Android and provide a unified experience for Android users everywhere. Part of this move involves Android One, which provides cheap Google certified devices with quick updates to new OS versions, but that’s just the beginning. Reportedly Google is working to simplify the process for smaller handset makers looking to get certified.
To help speed things along, Google is said to be looking into the idea of forming partnerships with ODMs such as Foxconn, Quanta and Flextronics, which produce smartphones for smaller firms which then sale their devices to India, Brazil, China and many other markets.
It’s unclear what Google plans to do to incentivize both the ODMS and the smaller Android manufacturers into going through certification, but it’s a move that would (arguably) be in the better interest of Android users as it would open the door to legal copies of Maps, Play and other key apps. Beyond that, it would also ensure that these handset makers would have to agree to certain “compatibility” requirements and standards in order to get certification.
What do you think, is Google wise to go after the AOSP Android market? Conversely, do you feel Google is trying too hard to control the direction of Android?