Google is looking to exert more pressure on device OEMs that wish to continue using the Android mobile operating system. Earlier this year, Google laid its vision to reduce fragmentation by forcing OEMs to ship new devices with more recent version of Android. Those OEMs that choose not to comply lose access to Google Mobile Services (GMS) apps like Gmail, Google Play, and YouTube.
Now, according to a new report by The Information, Google is mandating that OEMs preinstall more of its apps on Android devices. Under new contracts that Google is handing out, companies like LG, Samsung, HTC, and Huawei will need to install as many as 20 of Google’s apps on new Android devices (up from the current nine). As a concession, most the apps will be stored in a “Google” folder on the home screen, but you still won’t be able to delete the individual apps to regain a bit of free space.
OEMs will also be forced to make Google Search more accessible from the home screen and will have to implement the “OK Google” command to allow a device to wakeup and perform a search. Another requirement stipulated in the new contract is that no other search apps (such as Bing or Yahoo!) can be preinstalled if device OEMs want a cut of Google’s search revenue, which is understandable.
It should be noted that when it comes to useless, “junk” apps, Google in this instance is no different than Apple with iOS. Apple bundles many of its apps including Weather, Compass, Stocks, and Newsstand – which can’t be deleted – that usually end up in users’ “Junk” folder. And for apps like Mail and Safari, users can download their own more feature-filled replacements, but unlike with Android, there is no option to allow for users to make these third-party apps their default solutions system-wide.