In July this year, the European Union antitrust regulator fined Google 4.3 billion euros for abusing their dominant market position in mobile phones. The ruling stated that Google required Android phone makers to bundle Search and Chrome with the OS, blocked phone makers from creating devices with forked Android and payed manufacturers and operators to to exclusively bundle the Google search app on handsets.
As an aftermath of that ruling, Google has reportedly changed their Android licensing policy towards devices sold in the EU. The most “breaking news” regarding this change was that Android license might cost up to 40 dollars per phone in the EU, which would increase the cost of making phones to vendors, that will spill out on customers.
To shed a bit of light, Google will give the option to manufacturers not to include Search or Chrome with their devices, but the Google Play support and related apps might cost up to 40 dollars per phone, depending on the dpi of the phone. If a manufacturer opts to use all Google apps as they do now, they won’t have to pay any additional fees.
So, Google will give an option to phone makers not to include their Search or Chrome apps, but they will have to pay more in this case. Manufacturers that continue to pre-load all Google services won’t have any additional costs. The new contract is effective February 1st, 2019.
Also related to the EU ruling, is that Google now requires mandatory updates for devices sold in the EU after 31st January 2018, that have more than 100,000 activations. That’s part of the contract for the EU, but could also be expanded globally. Vendors that sell more than 100,000 units of a phone are required to push at least 4 updates a year for 2 years. If a vendor doesn’t comply, Google reserves the right to revoke their license for using Android with Google apps.
In terms of Nokia phones, nothing should change. HMD Global uses Android One pre-loaded with Search and Chrome, and will probably continue to do so, which means there will be no additional cost for making of future Android devices. HMD also regularly pushes updates, so the other part of the new contract won’t affect them either.
Keep in mind that everything published about the new contract is “unofficial” and not made public by Google, so some terms might be different in the end.