Google introduces licensing costs for Android manufacturers

The price of Android devices could soon increase

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Google has in the past required phone manufacturers to include all the company’s apps on Android devices, in order for them to include Play Store. This landed the firm a whopping £3.8 billion antitrust fine from the EU back in July, due to the fact this meant Chrome and Search were forced to be on these devices.

Now, Google will charge manufacturers a flat licensing fee to include its apps on devices. While Android OS will remain open-source and free, the actual Google apps that make it tick will have to be purchased.

Manufacturers will be able to license apps like Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube all in one bundle – Chrome and Google Search can be included too for no extra cost, but the other apps are necessary for this. This change only affects phones in Europe.

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Google will also no longer force its manufacturers to only produce Android phones. Previously, Google wouldn’t license out its apps to companies who made phones that wouldn’t ship Google apps, but it has now relaxed this requirement.

While it’s always great to see that big businesses can be held accountable for their operations, in practice there is a chance that Android phones will see an increase in price, with manufacturers offloading the addition cost of licensing onto the consumers. The actual cost of the apps is yet unknown, so this remains to be seen.

In addition, it remains to be seen if this changes things in any way. Manufacturers aren’t going to be keen on shipping Android phones without the entire Google app collection — this is, after all, what customers have come to expect.

These changes will be brought into effect from 29 October, the deadline for Google’s compliance with the EU’s ruling. The company is appealing the decision, but for now these changes will affect all upcoming Android phones.

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