Is Google pushing brands to mark whose phones use the Play store? Not so fast...
Burned by the significant drop in its Mobile Services numbers with the White House administration's ban on supplying Huawei with the goods, Google may now be demanding, or at least phone makers can feel compelled to explicitly say on the box that their gear ships with the Play Store and co.
At least that's the story that the world's fourth-largest phone manufacturer, Xiaomi, appears to be sticking to. Its new Mi 10 series ships with the subtle message you see on the box above, "with an easy access to the Google apps you use most."
There's no doubt that Huawei's market share may suffer after the Google apps ban, and the big Android phone makers like Samsung, Oppo or Xiaomi are lining up to grab as much of the pie as they can while they can. The companies from the BBK holding (OnePlus, Vivo and Oppo), and Xiaomi, have particularly increased their global presence since the Huawei ban, with a big hiring and marketing spree into Europe, for instance.
The thing is, however, that even in the new Google Mobile Services contract guidelines for Europe, such a box branding requirement is nowhere to be found, and the only obligatory thing is that the "Powered by Android" message is displayed on phone boot.
Xiaomi, in its turn, was quick to retool its message, saying that "this line on our Mi 10 series packaging boxes is consistent with Google’s long-standing branding guidelines, intended to help ensure consumers are properly informed of the software on the device."
Long story short, given the additional hoops one has to jump through to install the apps they need on phones like the otherwise excellent P40 Pro, pointing out that your phone has unbridled access to Maps, Gmail, and so on, is undoubtedly a market advantage. What's in doubt, however, is whether the bragging rights come from Google, or the phone manufacturer itself.