Uncertified Android devices are now blocked.
Well this will be quite a change in the world of Android. Google has began blocking it’s apps on uncertified devices. What does this mean? Forked versions of Android and users of custom ROM’s will find themselves unable to use the Play Store and Google Apps. Instead, they will receive a message stating “Device is not certified by Google”.
The idea behind this is not necessarily new, although the enforcement certainly is. Android’s maker requires products go through a certification process in order to pre-install it’s apps on devices. Many device makers choose not to go through this certification process, and instead simply tell users how to add Google apps themselves. This could be because the device maker wishes to use a forked version of Android, or perhaps because they don’t want to include everything that is required to go through the certification.
Users have been able to install Google apps on these non-certified devices due to a route left in place so that custom ROM users would be able to add the apps to their devices. That route is now closed off, but a concession has been made for custom ROM users. Custom ROM users can now whitelist their devices, however they’re limited to 100 device registrations.
If you’re currently using a custom ROM or a device with a forked version of Android, and you still have full access, don’t think you’ve slipped under the radar. This block will only affect devices on firmware that was built after March 16th.
From an outsider’s point of view, this looks to be yet another pointed attack in the ongoing Google vs Amazon war. Amazon devices operate on Fire OS, a forked version of Android which of course does not go through Google’s Android certification. Amazon tablets are quite cheap, some so cheap that they can almost be used as disposable devices. They’re also fairly decent devices for media consumption, which is what they’re made for. To use a tablet as primarily an eReader, or as a method to watch Amazon Prime, or to set up an Alexa powered video chat system between friends and family, there’s no better, or cheaper alternative. But these tablets come with one major downfall, and that is the exclusion of the Google Play Store. It has always been easy to add Google Play to these devices, but this seems to now be a thing of the past.
In the Google vs Amazon war, there seems to be one unavoidable truth, consumers are who are losing.