Google's new certification rules create upheaval in Android devices market
Google upsets Android market with insistence on mandatory certification for devices sold with Google apps such as Gmail, Play Store, Maps and YouTube
Kam Kothia, whose Blackburn-based company is launching its own Google certified tablets in the keenly priced £90-£120 bracket(1), says: "The market is currently in two tiers. In tier one are the costly big brand tablets and phones from the likes of Samsung, Google and Asus, while tier two offers hundreds of low cost and budget devices, branded and unbranded, of varying quality. At the moment, most tier two devices are not certified by Google. Now, Google is insisting that they must be certified if they are to carry core Google apps such as Gmail, Google Play Store, Google Maps and YouTube.
"So now it’s 'no certificate, no apps'. And that has consequences."
As well as denying onboard apps to buyers of uncertified devices, Google has some stark warnings of other potential risks with these devices. Customers could find their phones have fake and counterfeit Google apps, poor password and backup security, and they face the prospect that Android features and apps may not work correctly and may not be updated when bugs appear.(2) As Kothia says, "it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see the point of owning a device that isn’t certified."
He continues: "So during 2018, I believe the Android device market will reconfigure itself into three tiers: the present big-brand tier one, a new middle tier two for low-to-mid-price devices bearing the Google certificate and then a race to the bottom in tier three.
"Tier two, which is small at the moment, is the one to watch. It will offer increasing excellence but without the added tier 1 price tag. Google certification provides a guarantee of the build quality, as the devices have to pass stringent tests, as well as a clearance for Google apps. It also assures long term value, as Android, the apps and security features are automatically updated and continue to work smoothly together.
"Tier three will head for junk status with many uncertified devices and suppliers chasing fewer and fewer sales, as buyers will see the value in spending a bit more in tier two. Tier three prices may initially fall but, in the long term, suppliers will either have to invest in certification, raise their prices and join tier two, or be squeezed out altogether. I believe it will ultimately see an end to today’s questionable, bottom-rung budget devices.
"Meanwhile, the big names in tier one may also be squeezed by the new tier two. This tier will see a small number of suppliers offer quality without high prices and some of them will become the new generation of high street brands. In 2018, tier two is really the one to watch and the place where customers may benefit most."
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Notes for editors
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Kam Kothia, CEO of time2, with new Google GMS certified 10" Android 7.0 3G tablets
Kam Kothia, CEO of time2, with new Google GMS certified 10" Android 7.0 3G tablet
New Google GMS certified 10" Android 7.0 3G tablet