Google paying Nokia Mobile not to have custom launchers or icons

Mr Nokia or our Abdulla Zaki did a nice video explaining why Nokia Mobile should maybe change a bit the looks of Android on its devices. While Android One is still a reasonable business choice for Nokia Mobile, since the development of new UI requires resources, most of us agree with Mr Nokia that Nokia phones should also cherish some UI design that will make them stand out in the crowd. Nokia custom app icons, font or launcher, would help the brand be more Nokia, but Nokia Mobile probably won’t be doing that, and there is a good reason why.

Here is the Mr Nokia video where some valid points about Android One are being said.

Now, let’s focus on the reason why Nokia phones till today haven’t seen custom UI or Nokia Pure font for example. The Verge did a nice article about this particular problem and found that Google is paying some extra cash to phone makers to ditch third-party app stores, and it goes even further. According to the transcripts from The Epic vs Google lawsuit, Google created Premier Device Program in 2019.

Nokia 5.3

That program kept competing for third-party stores and services from being preinstalled on so-called “Premiere” phones in exchange for monetary compensation. Google mandates from manufacturers that the Google Play Store is the only store on the device and set as a default store. The icon of the Google Play store should always be placed on the default home screen, and that the Google Play app is also the default marketplace for not only apps but books, movies, videos and subscriptions.

The brands that are included in the program are Xiaomi (40%), HMD Global or Nokia Mobile (100%), Sony (50%), Sharp (50%) and others (80%). This is interesting info since it seems that Nokia devices are 100% Premier devices. This means that Nokia Mobile is prevented from using any alternative service or any application, bookmark, product, service, icon, launcher, gesture or functionality on their devices that have the primary purpose of providing access to any alternative service or may introduce, promote or suggest an alternative service to an end-user.

So, by using different icons, launchers or anything other than Android One UI, you might be distracting end-user from Google’s ecosystem of apps and services, and that is not what Google wants. Also, since the smartphone manufacturing business is costly and highly competitive nowadays, Nokia Mobile needs financial incentives from Google to keep the manufacturing process of Nokia devices alive.

And that’s it. The only way for Nokia fans to get different, more Nokia UI software design, is by some super-rich manufacturer to take the production of Nokia smartphones or some benefactor to pour a lot of money into the Nokia smartphone business.

Source The Verge | The Verge

Thanks SirFaceFone for the tip!