UPDATE (8 April / 12:42 PM):
It appears that Xiaomi, and not Google, responded to our article first with its own official statement:
“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.”
When compared with the remark from China, this statement is even more generic and didn’t provide any clear sign as to whether Google specifically asked for the inclusion of that line under the provisions of GMS license or otherwise.
ORIGINAL STORY (7 April / 10:59 PM)
Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone brand, recently held the grand launch of its new flagship devices, the Mi 10 series. In Europe, the packaging of each unit bears the words “with easy access to the Google apps you use most” on the side.
While most of us wouldn’t find this to be out of the ordinary for Android-powered device, those words weren’t put there voluntarily; it was by the decree of Google itself. According to a report by XDA, Xiaomi told the developer site that those words were a new requirement by Google. That all smartphone brands that ship with Google apps must include this statement.
The move, while controversial, is somewhat understandable considering the actions that led to it. Back in the middle of 2019, the US’ Trump administration signed an executive order against China and, indirectly, Huawei. That order led to the ongoing trade war that the two countries are now embroiled in, the most recent scenario being the US trying to nudge Huawei out of the global chip supply.
For the record, Xiaomi also released an official statement regarding the issue on its official Weibo account, as well as to pacify some of its Chinese fans. The original statement is in Chinese, but XDA was kind enough to translate it. In it, the brand says that the new text requirement is similar to the “Powered by Android” that comes out every time you turn on an Android device. On that note, it should be noted that Huawei’s devices still display that statement, despite having disabled access to Google Mobile Services (GMS).
For now, it remains unclear if Google will enforce this new requirement on smartphone brands beside Xiaomi. As it stands, Samsung’s packaging for its Galaxy S20 series does not currently have the statement printed on it, but this could just be a matter of time.
At the time of writing, we’re currently reaching out to Google for an official comment on the matter.