In order to protect users and ensure compatibility, Google has blocked owners of such devices from logging in to their Google accounts or using Google apps.
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
- Google has begun to block uncertified Android devices from accessing Google services or apps. Users on uncertified devices are also not allowed to log in to Google accounts.
- Uncertified devices are any that have Android firmware dated later than March 16, 2018, or those that have failed to conform to Google's Android compatibility standards and pass its compatibility test.
Google has begun to actively block uncertified Android devices from accessing Google services and apps, XDA Developers reports.
The move comes after a year of planning, according to XDA Developers' anonymous source. Newly built Android firmware, as of March 16, 2018, is being completely blocked from accessing any Google services--device owners can't even log in to their Google account on uncertified devices.
The move is a security and compatibility consideration for Google. In order for new devices to be certified, the manufacturer will need to conform to Google's Android compatibility standards and pass a compatibility test designed to ensure Google apps and device peripherals will work correctly.
Ars Technica pointed out that Android is a particular brand name that Google is seeking to protect with this move, and devices that don't pass compatibility requirements aren't allowed to call themselves Android devices.
Google is warning users of uncertified devices that not only will they be unable to access Google apps and services, but Google won't vouch for the security of their device either: "If your device is not certified, we have not ensured basic security features or apps from Google and the Play Store can work as intended," Google said.
How to tell if your Android device is certified
If you've purchased an Android device from your carrier and have done nothing in the way of modifying it there's no need to panic--chances are it's certified.
You can check to see if your Android device is certified by opening the Google Play Store app, opening the Settings screen, and looking for the Device Certification field, where it will say either "certified" or "uncertified."
SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)
If you have an uncertified device you may have already received a screen-filling notice warning you that your device is not certified. Google has little to say on how to rectify the situation if you bought an uncertified device, outside of contacting your device manufacturer to get a certified replacement.
Unlicensed manufacturers are to apply for a distribution license at g.co/AndroidGMSContact, and licensed manufacturers are told to register their device by contacting their Google Business Development Manager.
What about custom ROMs?
The custom ROM community is likely to be horrified at this news, but there's no need to worry--Google knows custom ROM users exist, and they have been given a whitelisting option to allow custom devices to access Google services and apps.
A word of warning: XDA Developers said there's no way to guarantee their steps will work, and some users have still experienced issues despite whitelisting their devices. If you can't get everything working you may have to simply roll back your device to its OEM version of Android.
- Special report: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- The 10 best ways to secure your Android phone (ZDNet)
- These Android smartphone OEMs provide the fastest security updates to users (TechRepublic)
- Google Android Security report 2017: We read it so you don't have to (ZDNet)
- Android P adds critical security updates, makes its case as an enterprise OS (TechRepublic)