New Google policy could raise the price of Android phones


On Tuesday, it announced that manufacturers will soon have to pay a licensing fee to ship devices into the European Economic Area (EEA) with Google apps pre-installed.

Samsung Electronics Co, Huawei Technologies Co [HWT.UL] and other device makers will have to pay Google an undisclosed amount for access to the Google Play app store. Everyone knew a mega-fine was coming, and since Google basically mints money thanks in part to its lucrative ad business there was no question it would be able to absorb any financial penalty.

Google will sell a licensing package for an app bundle of Google Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube.

'Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the EEA, ' Lockheimer said. The actual cost of the apps is yet unknown, so this remains to be seen.

Google formally offered its solutions to avoid more European Union mega-fines Wednesday, after Brussels accused the USA tech giant of illegally abusing the dominance of its Android operating system for mobile devices. Even a company as big as Microsoft has found it incredibly hard to compete with Google's search engine.

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Google has stated that the bundling of Google Search and Chrome funded the development of the Android operating system. Many companies have also wrapped their web apps in native containers so they can be distributed via the Microsoft Store and other centralized platforms.

While Google may be shooting for the native experience, there is no getting away from the fact that its implementation remains a Chrome browser window shorn of fripperies such as tabs and toolbars.

Now, Google will charge manufacturers a flat licensing fee to include its apps on devices.

"The big challenge for phone-makers is to try to replicate the success that Apple has had with monetising its devices after they have been bought, which it has done by selling services such as iCloud storage and Apple Music". Now, presumably, they have more freedom to try to do so. Since Google can't force its apps on smartphone manufactures anymore, it is now finding another way to create revenue with the help of a licensing fee. "Android will remain free and open source." writes Google's Hiroshi Lockheimer in a blog post.