Manufacturing an Android device like a smartphone or a tablet and selling it is not an easy process. The Android OS is installed after building the device. Also, in order to ship the device with Google’s apps, it has to undergo compatibility certification tests by Google which can take around 3 months to complete. Google has collaborated with MediaTek to launch a new initiative called Google’s Mobile Services (GMS) Express in order to reduce the certification process time to 4 weeks from the usual duration of up to 3 months.
Android operating system is an open source product that allow developers to customize it to support different hardware configurations. However, this can make the Android OS differently on different devices. Hence, Google has laid down specific prerequisites to ensure that basic APIs and device functionality is consistent on different devices running on Android.
Google has a way of enforcing its requirements. It does it by providing its own apps which includes Google Play Store, Gmail, YouTube and so on. This way the search engine giant ensures that Android OEMs adhere to their rules.
If an Android build running on a device is unable to pass the certification process set by Google, such a device will not be able to run the various apps made available by Google. For major companies like Samsung, the certification process may not be a huge barrier in releasing their phones. However, as stated above, the entire process of certification can take up to 3 months for startup firms to release their devices into the market.
The GMS Express program will certainly help in reducing the time required for certification. In collaboration with MediaTek, Google will provide already tested, certified and fully complaint versions of Android builds to Android OEM. Devices running on such builds will have to undergo the last certification step as the code will is likely to get modified for including new features. However, it will allow Android OEMs to release their devices to the market quickly.
It will also benefit the end-user as they will be receiving a pre-tested and secure edition of Android. Since GMS is unavailable on Android devices in China, the new program is targeted towards device markers both inside and outside of China that are manufacturing devices for international markets like Europe and North America.