Google is wielding Android as a weapon in the fight against Amazon that decides who operates your smart home.
According to a report from Protocol, Google is able to revoke software licenses if a manufacturer uses Amazon’s Fire TV.
Companies like TCL and Sony who use Android TV for their devices apparently must agree to terms that prevent them from also building devices using forked Android versions like Fire TV.
The policy applies across device categories – mobile phone manufacturers who sign onto the Android Compatibility Commitment effectively cannot build Fire TV devices. Breaking the terms of the agreement could mean losing access to the Play Store and Google apps for all of their devices.
Google’s policy, designed to prevent fragmentation, also limits options for manufacturers to build their own operating system with an Android fork. If it doesn’t meet Google’s compatibility requirements the manufacturer risks losing software support.
What this all means is there are limited options for businesses and consumers in the TV market. Google is seemingly trying to gain a monopoly on smart TVs by threatening businesses with losing the vaunted Play Store from all devices including smart phones.