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Android OEMs will not have to pre-install all Google apps in India

21 February 2023 2

Android smartphones and tablets are set to undergo a major change in the way they get launched in India. Google is set to give Android OEMs the freedom of choosing what Google apps to pre-install on their respective devices. The significant change is coming in response to a recent Competition Commission of India (CCI) ruling where the tech giant was under legal scrutiny as it was accused of abusing its dominance in certain markets including app stores and online search.

Google has agreed to comply with the ruling and implement the changes as demanded. Tipster Kuba Wojciechowski (@Za_Raczke) has shared the document on Twitter that reveals the upcoming key changes. The crux of the situation Android OEMs currently follow the global MADA (Mobile Application Distribution Agreement) license for releasing Android devices in India. But after the ruling, OEMs will now have the option to release smartphones under IMADA (India-specific version of MADA).

The biggest change in IMADA is that OEMs will no longer have the compulsion to release devices with each of the mandatory 11 Google apps pre-installed. These are Search, Chrome, Drive, Gmail, Meet, Maps, YouTube Music, Google Photos, Google Play Movies and TV, and YouTube. They can now choose which app(s) to pre-install and which one to exclude. The Play Store is the only mandatory app now. However, OEMs will still have to offer certain "core services" which are necessary for Google APIs to work properly.

The compulsion to have the Google search bar and folder of Google apps on the home screen is not there anymore as well. If a device comes with the Google Search app pre-installed, they will need to give users an option to choose their preferred search engine while setting up the device. There is also an Indian Placement Agreement where Google will pay a certain amount to OEMs on a per-app basis for each of the 11 Google apps they will choose to pre-install and add shortcuts to the home screen.

It is important to note that devices following IMADA can only be sold in India. This is something OEMs will have to keep in mind if they wish to go for the new agreement. If they wish to sell the same device in India and around the globe, they will have no choice but to follow the existing MADA license.


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Android OEMs will not have to pre-install all Google apps in India
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