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Google apps could become optional on some Indian smartphones, according to leaker

Indian flag with Android logo

Back in January, as a result of a $161 million fine by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), Google promised to make some changes to its business practices when it came to Android in India. This included allowing smartphone vendors in India to license individual apps for pre-installation on their Android devices. It looks like more changes are on the way for Google, if a new report is to be believed.

Leaker Kuba Wojciechowski claimed recently in a Twitter thread that they had obtained access to Google documentation. According to the document, under the optional Indian Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (IMADA) between phone manufacturers and Google, the search giant needs to provide a version of Google Mobile Services (GMS) where Google apps are optional.

Under standard mobile application distribution agreements (MADAs), smartphone makers need to install 11 key Google apps. But with IMADA, they only need to install the Google Play Store. Manufacturers will also not be required to include a Google search bar, a Google apps folder, and a Play Store icon on a phone's main screen. Despite these, IMADA still requires phone makers to include certain core services required for some Google APIs to function, such as GmsCore (Google Play Services).

Wojciechowski added that Google will offer a "per-app" bounty to manufacturers that will include any of the 11 Google apps and put its icon on the main screen. Lastly, starting 2Q'2023, Google will allow users to choose their default search engine when setting up their phone. This is similar to the system Europe has in place.

It must be noted that with the supposed new agreement, Indian smartphone manufacturers can still opt for the regular application distribution agreement. But should they choose IMADA, they can only release devices with that variant in India.

Source: Kuba Wojciechowski

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