Why it matters: Android has always been a more open platform than iOS. The company would obviously prefer that developers use its own app distribution platform, the Google Play Store, over third-party alternatives, but it still allows such options to exist without taking action against them.
That's been the case for years now -- according to Google, Android has "always" allowed users to snag apps from more than one app store. Indeed, as the company points out, a sizable chunk of modern Android smartphones already ships with two such stores: a manufacturer-branded store and the Play Store.
However, Google says it wants to take things a step further moving forward. When Android 12 launches, Google will be making "changes" to the mobile operating system to better facilitate the use of third-party app stores.
It's not clear exactly what these changes will entail, and we wouldn't even be able to make an educated guess -- perhaps Google will promote alternatives in some way? Only time will tell. Aside from that, though, the corporation will also be clarifying its billing policies.
As most of our readers know, Google takes a slice of the revenue generated by apps with an up-front cost or in-app purchases on the Google Play Store; 30 percent, to be specific. However, some apps -- a small minority -- have sought to dodge that fee by offering direct in-app payment services.
Starting on January 20, 2021, that will no longer be allowed: all developers selling "digital goods," even subscription-based ones, will be required to give Google its slice of the pie.