Google and MediaTek Announce GMS Express – Delivering Pre-Certified Android Builds to Device Makers

Google and MediaTek Announce GMS Express – Delivering Pre-Certified Android Builds to Device Makers

There’s a ton of work that goes into building an Android smartphone. After designing the hardware, ordering components, and then manufacturing the product, companies then have to work on getting Android up and running as well. Not only that, but if they want their product to be competitive then they need to put the device through Google’s compatibility certification tests in order to ship Google’s apps on their device. However, this process can take up to 3 months to complete. To allow partners to ship new devices more quickly, Google, in partnership with MediaTek, is announcing a new project called GMS Express that reduces the certification process from 3 months down to potentially 4 weeks.

Since Android is open source, it can be modified and built to run on all sorts of different hardware configurations. However, this can lead to inconsistencies with how Android behaves from one device to another, thus Google sets up certain requirements to make sure that basic APIs and hardware function consistently across all Android devices. To enforce these requirements, Google leverages its suite of Google apps including the Google Play Store (bundled as part of Google Mobile Services) to force companies to abide by their rules. If an Android build on a device doesn’t pass Google’s certification process, then they aren’t allowed to ship their devices with most popular Google apps pre-installed.

As mentioned, this certification process can take up to 3 months to complete and this means time, manpower resources, and money for each smartphone, tablet, and smartwatch that gets put up for sale. For big companies like Samsung, this is likely just a minor annoyance but this can be a huge barrier for some smaller startup companies that want to get into the market.

With GMS Express, Google wants to reduce the certification time down to 4 weeks. SoC manufacturers like MediaTek will provide Android device manufacturers pre-tested, pre-certified, and fully compliant builds of Android. Devices built in this way will still need to go through a final certification process since the code will likely be changed to add in more features. But it will be incredibly convenient for OEMs that are trying to get an Android device to market quickly. Google has announced that dozens of brands have already joined GMS Express.

Press Release

MediaTek collaborates with Google and its GMS Express program to Deliver Certified Android Software, Mobile Services to Device Makers

MediaTek offers pre-certified and CTS-compliant Android builds with Google Mobile Services to ensure quality Android experiences & get devices to market faster

SAN DIEGO, USA and HSINCHU, Taiwan – November 1, 2017 – MediaTek Inc. today announced that it is the first System-on-Chip (SoC) partner for GMS Express, a program designed to provide approved Android software solutions, including GoogleTM Mobile Services (GMS) and Google Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) certification, to device makers.

As GMS Express’s first SoC partner, MediaTek can help device makers get to market more cost effectively and faster and ensure high-quality, consistent consumer experiences with AndroidTM applications and devices. Under the new program, MediaTek provides device makers with a pre-tested, pre-certified, and fully compliant build of Android and GMS. For the past several months, MediaTek has already worked with several of its customers in connection with GMS Express. In fact, dozens of brands have already joined the GMS Express program.

“MediaTek is focused on making great technology available to everyone. This program supports the entire Android community and ensures that from the program’s OEM participants and their devices within the program, only pre-tested and certified Android builds appear in the marketplace to give consumers confidence they have a secure, first-class Android experience,” said TL Lee, General Manager of MediaTek’s wireless business. “Being the first SoC company endorsed for GMS Express reinforces MediaTek as a full hardware and software solutions provider to help brands improve time to market and user experiences with Android devices.”

MediaTek customers – Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) and Original Design Manufacturers (ODM’s) – can reduce the typical compatibility certification process from three months to four weeks. They also receive frequent security patches to reduce risks of device hacking.

MediaTek’s support of GMS Express is seamless because of its smartphone design expertise and experience working with the large, global Android customer base. MediaTek chipsets power more than 1.5 billion devices a year across a broad range of products including smartphones, TVs, voice assisted devices, routers and more.

“Android has enabled a healthy ecosystem of diverse OEM manufacturers who deliver compelling devices at all price points throughout the world,” said Jim Kolotouros, VP, Global Android Partnerships at Google. “We are excited by MediaTek’s leadership in connection with the GMS Express program, and enabling the OEM ecosystem to develop high quality devices more quickly, more cheaply, and more easily.”

MediaTek, the first SoC provider to support Google’s GMS Express program, has been a market innovator since the company first entered the mobile market with a mission to improve time-to-market and mobile ecosystem efficiency more than 20 years ago. The GMS Express program is the latest example of MediaTek’s commitment to serving as a total pipeline solution provider, including SOC hardware, turnkey solutions, and certification support.

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