Google’s Android operating system is powering more than 80% of smartphones worldwide. But that could change soon in India, according to a new report.
As a result of an antitrust case filed last year by the Competition Commission of India, Google will have to amend its software licensing agreements with device makers in India. This will reportedly lead to phones in the country that ship with fewer Google apps.
Under the New?IMADA? Licence
The Indian smartphone market is currently the world’s second-largest with 97 percent of its 600 million smartphones running on Android. But last year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) slapped Google with a $161 million fine over anti-competitive practices.
This forced Google to make major changes in its Android and Play Store apps. Now, prolific leaker Kuba Wojciechowski claims to have spotted a new document detailing how these changes will work for Indian users.
According to the document, OEMs will be given a choice between the standard Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) or IMADA. Under IMADA, phone makers can sell devices with only the Google Play Store and do not need to pre-install 11 key Google apps like Search, Chrome, Drive, Gmail, Maps, Pictures, YouTube Music, YouTube, and Google Play Movies & TV.
In addition to the above, IMADA also allows manufacturers to get rid of Google’s search bar and more Google content on the home screen. This will be possible starting from 2Q’2023.
Getting a Per-App Bounty
Google has been forced to make some changes in India following a ruling by the country’s competition watchdog. Leaks suggest that smartphones in the country could soon ship with fewer Google Apps than in other markets.
As a part of the new IMADA (Indian Mobile Application Distribution Agreement), smartphone makers will be given more freedom over what apps they can pre-install on their phones, but they’ll still need to install the Play Store.
Unlike the regular MADA, which includes 11 Google Apps that need to be pre-installed on devices in other countries, the Indian version will allow phone makers to add optional apps from Google’s library.
In addition, phone makers will be able to choose a default search engine on setup. This is similar to the system that Europe has in place. The leaker also claims that Google will offer a per-app bounty under this new license, but he doesn’t have details on how much the bounty will be and how it will be paid out.
Less Pre-Installed User-Facing Apps
A new report suggests that Android devices in India could soon ship with fewer Google apps. The American tech giant is reportedly being forced to change its software licensing agreements with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the country, according to a leaked document.
Currently, every Android device in the country comes with 11 Google apps pre-installed, including the Google Play Store and the search engine. However, under the new IMADA licence, phone OEMs will have more flexibility as to which Google apps they include.
This should help users in India who have trouble finding the app they want to download, and it will also reduce bloatware on Android devices. These apps often get extensive control over the device, and are therefore considered a security risk.
Default Search Engine
Android Devices in India Could Soon Ship With Fewer Google Apps
Indian smartphone users will be given more control over their devices, thanks to a recent ruling by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). They’ll be able to choose a different billing system for apps and in-app purchases, and have the option to use an alternative search engine on their Android phones.
That will mean less money for Google, which takes a 30 percent cut from each transaction. Hopefully, this will spur more competition and innovation on the platform, helping to bring down the price of Android-based smartphones in India.
Google is a dominant force in the mobile operating system world, but it has to comply with these new rules. It’s not clear what these changes might mean for the company’s future in the region, but they could certainly be a big deal if they end up extending to other markets down the road.