The modern mobile eco-system was built in the factories of China, in particular Shenzhen. But two mobile eco-systems exist: China and the rest of the world, hence Chinadroid.
Chinadroid: These are phones that use the Android Operating System but have not gone through official channels for compatibility (CTS) or do not have a Google Mobile Services (GMS) license.
A couple of scenarios are playing out to drive Chinadroid handsets:
- Virtually no Android handset in China has access to Google services including the app store. Baidu estimates that are over 386 million active Android handsets in China, using different app stores and web services. Some of these have a very different look-and-feel like Cyanogen or MIUI – Xiaomi’s flavour of Android
- A second scenario is where smaller manufacturers don’t get Google to play ball and get them onboard with a GMS licence for those handsets that they do sell outside China. Google historically hasn’t bothered to scale to address the international aspirations of these tier two and tier three handset makers. Their product is probably being used across the developing world, from the Nigerian merchants with their suitcases of phones flown from Hong Kong to the virgin mobile markets of Burma or Laos. The big challenge with these secondary players is that they are market makers and not having them registered means that Google doesn’t get the full benefit of being able to onboard these people on to the internet and hooked into the Google eco-system
- Will the Chinadroid situation drive a completely new OS system (like SailfishOS) with Chinese characteristics? Doing their own operating system has a lot of technical challenges, but it may be done for security reasons
The Shenzhen Market Mini-Guide | Medium
China now has 386 million active Android users | Techinasia
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