Although Google has always allowed OEMs to pre-install other competitive services on Android smartphones and tablets, OEMs could not release Android devices with the Google suite of apps and devices without Google apps in the EAA.
Brussels accused Google of using the Android system's dominance of smartphones and tablets to promote the use of its own Google search engine and shut out rivals. In providing Android free to any device maker to use and modify, Google helped make the software available everywhere - in phones, tablets, cars and refrigerators.
"That's been harder to do for Android licensees as a lot of the revenue from their devices has flowed to Google via things like Search and Maps". If you produced any Android device without Google's apps, you got booted from the Google ecosystem.
This resulted in the European Union issueing a €4.3 billion fine to Google and demanded it ended these practices within 90 days.
Until now, Google has only allowed phone vendors to ship the Play Store app with their phones only if they abide by strict rules. "Android will remain free and open source." writes Google's Hiroshi Lockheimer in a blog post.
On top of the new app fees, Lockheimer said that phone vendors are also free to distribute unofficial forks of the Android OS and that they can also skip installing the Search and Chrome apps, which until now have been deal-breakers. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours.
Google has been banging the drum for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) for some time, initially seeing the tech as a way of improving the user experience of web apps before suggesting it could present a real alternative to native desktop applications.
Google has in the past required phone manufacturers to include all the company's apps on Android devices, in order for them to include Play Store.
Google says these changes will go into effect on October 29, but it's not all set in stone just yet. One was the addition of data files called cookies that stuck around for Google sites even when you told Google to delete them. "We will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome".