Rumor: Google to force OEMs to use recent versions of Android on new handsets

By on February 11, 2014, 1:15 PM
google, android, oems

Just last month it was reported that Google forced Samsung to dial back its custom Android UI and homegrown apps. Now it seems the company wants even more control over its popular mobile operating system. If rumours are to be believed, the search giant is pressurising OEMs to use the latest version of Android on new devices.

According to an Android Police report, Google has formulated a new policy which says that if an OEM wants to qualify for Google Mobile Services (GMS) -- aka Google Apps -- they should install the up-to-date version of Android out of the box. 

If true then starting this month, Google will no longer authorize devices running versions older than Android 4.2. The report also states that OEMs will not be allowed to release devices running Android 4.2 after April 2014, and the same goes for Android 4.3 after July 2014.

According to an alleged memo cited by the report: “Each platform release will have a “GMS approval window” that typically closes nine months after the next Android platform release is publicly available. (In other words, we all have nine months to get new products on the latest platform after its public release.)”

While OEMs may not be very happy with the decision, consumers will be delighted as they'll quickly get their hands on the latest versions of Android. Specifically, the decision may not affect mid and high-end device manufacturers, who usually do not ship a device more than 2 versions behind the current Android release, but would affect low-end device manufacturers because if an OEM wishes to launch a budget mobile with Google Play Support, they'll have to do finer than Gingerbread or ICS.

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