Google apps licensing fee could cost Android device makers in the EU up to $40 per phone

By | 19th October 2018
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Earlier this week, Google said that it would offer a licensing agreement in Europe for Android device makers who wanted Google apps without Google Search or Chrome. Now we may know how much it'll cost for manufacturers to get those apps.

Google will charge up to $40 per device for Android device makers who want to install the "Google Mobile Services" apps, which includes the Play Store. The actual cost of the fee varies depending on country and device, according to The Vergewhich was able to view confidential documents related to the fees.

Google would charge the highest fees in the U.K., Sweden, Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands, where a device with a pixel density above 500 ppi would cost $40 to license Google's apps. Devices between 400 and 500 ppi would be charged a $20 fee in those countries, while sub-400 ppi devices would cost $10. In other countries, the fee could get as low as $2.50 per device for low-end models. Tablets would be priced differently, too, maxing out at $20 per device.

It's said that Android device makers could avoid at least some of those licensing costs, though, by agreeing to install Google Search and Chrome on their devices. Google is reportedly offering separate agreements to cover some or all of the licensing fees for companies who install those two apps in addition to the Google Mobile Services apps.

These new licensing fees will apparently apply to devices activated on or after February 1st, 2019.

A licensing fee of $40 per device is a hefty charge, costing more than many other components of a smartphone, and it's definitely possible that the Android device makers could pass that cost onto consumers. Of course, if Google is offering to cover some or all of the fees for manufacturers that also install Google Search and Chrome onto their devices, we could see many companies agreeing to do that to avoid the hefty licensing fee. It'll be interesting to see how this situation plays out, so stay tuned for more as we get it.