Geek.com confirmed a report from earlier this week that Google has required all new phones running its mobile OS display “Powered by Android” when they’re turned on. The mandate recently became a part of the Google Mobile Services agreement, which manufacturers must adhere to in order to gain access to the Google Play store on their handsets. New smartphones from HTC and Samsung are already displaying the phrase during the “boot animation.”
The move appears to be Google’s latest attempt to reclaim its open source OS, which has been forked and co-opted by manufacturers (and, to a lesser extent, carriers) looking to present their own brands and offerings to consumers. That effort first came to light earlier this year when Re/code reported that Google had convinced Samsung to ease up on its own Android-based software and services in favor of Google’s offerings.
Ever-increasing forking of Android has created an environment in which manufacturing brands like Samsung’s Galaxy have become co-opetition for Google’s OS, vying for consumer mind share, as Benedict Evans alluded to more than a years ago. This week’s news hints that Google is becoming protective of its Android brand just as it is about its Android services.