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As far as I know, Android is open source and any OEM is free to use it without asking permission. The licensing program is for the right to install proprietary Google apps like the Play Store or Google Maps. There are plenty of Chinese OEMs who aren't licensed and sell phones without the Play store.



Amazon tried to sell Android without Google Play, but the resulting Amazon Fire Phone didn't do very well. Unless Google is banned in your country like in China, no OEM wants to risk skipping out on Google Play.


The code is open source but "Android" is trademarked. You can't call it an "Android" phone unless Google lets you.


Not necessarily -- trademark infringement requires an element of deception or confusion, not just any usage of the mark.

If an OEM sold a phone with a stock AOSP build, I think they'd be fine with calling it "Android" without permission. Google might attempt to enforce their mark anyway, but they wouldn't have much of a case.

If the phone ran a fork like LineageOS, the OEM would need to be more careful about their use of the mark, but I imagine they'd still be okay with language like "Android-based".


Yes, and that directly causes a device to fail SafetyNet Attestation which can cause some third-party apps to not work even with sideloading/different app store.

Edit: like Netflix, Hulu, and Snapchat




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