With just about every Android phone maker tweaking the OS to suit their needs, Google is taking a big symbolic step to remind consumers of its own importance.
Google is now requiring new Android devices to display a “Powered by Android” logo when they boot up in order to access the Google Play store, Geek.com reports. It’s a small but significant move to make Android as much as a household name as Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.
The branding appears in the boot sequences for the new Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One right below their parent company logos. Expect to see the branding everywhere this year.
According to Geek.com, the requirement is now part of Google’s Mobile Services Agreement, which manufacturers need to follow to get access to the precious Google Play app store, as well as Google’s own Android apps. Last month, leaks of the agreement gave us a rare glimpse of Google’s other requirements, which include pre-installing a dozen core Google apps on phones and limiting what sorts of things could appear on the home screen.
Even though Android is open-source, you lose out on Google’s apps and services if you don’t sign up for the Mobile Services Agreement. But that’s still a useful option if you’re prepared to build out your own Android app store and custom apps, as Amazon does for its Kindle Fire tablets.
Just like the “Intel Inside” slogan made mainstream consumers aware of the chip powering their computers, Google wants people to know that the likes of Samsung don’t deserve all of the credit for their beloved smartphones. The move is all about control for Google — over the past few years, Samsung has stuffed its Galaxy S smartphones with so many custom features and software that it’s hard to tell they’re actually running Android.