Android shock: Why millions face total block from all Google apps

Google has announced it has stopped approving licences for new Android phones sold in Turkey. That means new phones sold in the Middle Eastern country won’t have come pre-installed with the Google Play Store and Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome and more.

First reported by Reuters, the issue stems from disagreements between Google and Turkey’s competition board. Back in September last year, the authority fined Google 93 million lira (roughly £12 million) for violating competition laws.

Following the decision, Google then made changes to its contracts. However, these were deemed to still be unacceptable by the competition board. The issue appears to surround the ability to change the default search engine on Android.

It’s worth noting every Android user in Turkey (a country with a population of over 80 million) will still be able to use their current smartphone normally. You won’t wake up to find all Google apps and services have been erased from your smartphone.

Only new Android devices sold in Turkey will be affected by Google’s latest decision.

Commenting on the matter, the American tech giant said: “We’ve informed our business partners that we will not be able to work with them on new Android phones to be released for the Turkish market.

“Consumers will be able to purchase existing device models and will be able to use their devices and applications normally. Google’s other services will be unaffected.”

All hope isn’t lost for Turkish consumers wanting to pick up the latest and greatest Android phones with Android apps pre-installed. Google has said it’s working with regulators to resolve the matter.

The Mountain View firm went on: “We understand that this creates difficulties for consumers, manufacturers, app developers and carriers in Turkey, and expect to reach a resolution with the TCA soon.”

There are certainly parallels that can be drawn between the latest announcement from Google and current Huawei devices. New devices from the Chinese tech giant are similarly unable to be sold with Google apps and services pre-installed. However, this is not because of any direct disagreements with Huawei and Google.

Instead, Google is currently unable to grant new Huawei devices Android licences because of a US trade ban. That means recently unveiled handsets like the Mate 30 Pro come without many programmes Western Android users see as fundamental to daily use.

Because of the US trade ban, Huawei has opted to limit the availability of the Mate 30 Pro in Western markets. The handset is currently available in Spain, Italy and France in addition to Asian territories like China and Singapore.

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