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Google has apparently updated the terms of their Mobile Application Distribution Agreement, the contract which governs what OEMs must do with their phones in order to be able to access the good stuff – in this case, Google Apps, but more importantly access to the Google Play store and the more than 1 Million apps, games and of course digital content that includes.

Paywalled site ‘The Information‘ has gotten access to the latest iteration of the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement, and Android Central has summarised the most important parts which includes :

  • There must be a Google search “widget” on the “default home screen” of the device, along with an icon for the Google Play app store.
  • An icon on the device home screen labeled as “Google,” when clicked, must provide access to a “collection” of 13 Google apps (Google Chrome, Google Maps, Google Drive, YouTube, Gmail, Google+, Google Play Music, Google Play Movies, Google Play Books, Google Play Newsstand, Google Play Games, Google+ Photos and Google+ Hangouts).
  • Other Google apps, including Google Street View, Google Voice Search and Google Calendar, must be placed “no more than one level below the Home Screen.”
  • If device owners hold down the physical “Home” button or “swipe up” from a digital home button or navigation bar, such actions should trigger Google Search.
  • Google [has] the option to display a “Google trademark” or an “Android brand feature” on a “separate screen” when the device boots up.

Much of this reads as nothing spectacular, as we’ve been seeing most of this stuff for a while now. The newest update is obviously the boot animation we now see as the ‘Powered by Android’ logo we’ve been seeing on this years flagships.

It’s nothing terribly scary, but it does show that Google is clamping down more on OEMs, while Android remains open – just ask Nokia and Amazon – if you want to play in Google’s garden, there’s some rules, but it’s nothing you can’t put right yourself with a little tinkering.

Are these mandates from Google regarding how much Google you see on an Android phone too draconian or just right?

Source: The Information(Paywall).
Via: AndroidCentral.
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So much for Google being “open” when they’re shoving their apps in my face.


Google never was “open” …. Android is open, however if an OEM wishes to use Google services – such as the Playstore, Maps etc they are required to form a licence agreement with Google for these services. Exactly what this article is about.

Amazon is an example of not utilising these services but using the “open” android.


My comment was vague so I’ll elaborate. I’m questioning Google’s overall philosophical commitment to openness, which they have historically preached time and time again like some virtue loving Jesus, even though it’s clear that they value openness only insofar as it’s in their interest to do so. Admittedly they seem to be making their claims less overtly these days, probably because of the increasingly obvious hypocrisy in doing so. The fact that AOSP is open source doesn’t demonstrate a substantive commitment to openness on Google’s part – everyone knows that the real value of Android lies in the Google services… Read more »


You’re deluded.


It’s because of the OEMs screwing things up, and still wanting Google Android and Play on their devices, that Google is now coming down hard on the OEMs. This is overdue in happening.

If the OEMs weren’t so intent on hiding real, proper, pure Android from the user, then this move by Google would not be necessary.


I’d prefer Google to place limits or how far the OEM’S can modify the skin (Touchwiz is fucking ewwww) but I would NOT like to be forced to have a search widget on my default home screen. Isn’t Chrome and Play Store sufficient????

Darren Ferguson

I think the powered by android is a good step. I’m sure many of us have heard stories of people saying “android is so crap, I only use Samsung” etc.


What Google needs to do is take the agreement a step further.
Require the OEMs to allow users to choose stock android or the manufacturers skinned version during device setup.

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

We can only dream of something like that.

TheBagging Man



I buy Android for the Google ecosystem and the hardware is incidental. I stick with Nexus because I hate all the skins and update delays so the sooner all phones run vanilla Android the better.