Made-in-Vietnam Bphone failed to get Google's certification

June 02, 2020 | 16:10
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BKAV has recently announced that its smartphone Bphone B86 failed to reach Google's Play Protect certificate due to Google's demand that at least a million devices be sold each year.
made in vietnam bphone failed to get googles certification
Bphone B86 is for now an uncertified device on the Play Store

Nearly a month after the launch of B86, some users discovered that the smartphone has yet to achieve Google’s security certificate – Play Protect. Accordingly, the Settings menu of the Play Store on B86 devices says the device is not certified.

According to Google’s website, uncertificated devices mean they are insecure and may fail to update the Android OS or certain applications. Moreover, Google’s applications installed on such devices may not be authentic. In other words, the apps may have been illegally installed on the devices.

Android is a free-of-charge, open-source software that can be used by anyone. However, mobile phone manufacturers have to pay Google to be able to use closed-source applications like Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps on their devices.

Along with the failure in reaching Play Protect, BKAV ceasing to be an Android partner has deepened concerns, especially as Android’s partners in Vietnam include Vsmart, FPT, and even small brands like Mobiistar and Masstel.

In an official statement, BKAV has explained that the lack of certification is by no means related to the technical specifications of its devices but instead is a result of Google's sales policy. Accordingly, in 2015 when Bphone 1 was introduced, BKAV signed a GMS license with Google to receive permission to use services like Gmail, CH Play, and YouTube. However, later on, Google unilaterally changed the policy. Specifically, it decided to only extend the agreement if BKAV sales exceed one million devices a year – which the producer has not achieved yet and so the agreement (and related certifications) were not made available for the devices.

To resolve the problem, Google guided BKAV to sign a new agreement with another Google manufacturing partner at the time under which it would have to purchase devices and related technology while Google’s partner would produce the actual devices of BKAV. However, the local firm did not agree because it aims to master the core technology and produce the items in Vietnam on its own.

While BKAV has been steadily trudging towards its one million sales target, it signed an agreement with another Google partner that was authorised to verify Android compatibility, GMS, and security updates to provide relevant certificates for Bphone devices.

“Bphone fulfils all production requirements that are required of other manufacturers. The only difference is that instead of getting Google’s direct approval, Bphone has been approved by one of Google’s authorised partners,” BKAV asserted.

By Van Anh

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