Google is playing the pettiest of all games against Huawei on Xiaomi Mi 10 series boxes; other Android OEMs likely to follow suit
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Huawei does not hold back when it ridicules its competitors. CEO Richard Yu took Samsung apart in his assessment of the Galaxy Fold, for example, stating that Huawei settled on a superior design with the Mate X, instead.
It is hard to escape the fact that Huawei and Honor smartphones currently offer an inferior selection of apps than its Android competitors do though, and Google is capitalising on that. A few days ago it emerged that Xiaomi was including "with easy access to the Google apps you use most" on European Mi 10 boxes. Pictures of these boxes circulated online and prompted people to suggest that Xiaomi was insulting Huawei.
On the face of it that would make sense, as Xiaomi is the first Google-certified OEM to display such terms on its boxes. However, Xiaomi has now responded with the following statement, as translated by XDA Developers from Chinese:
We have noticed that there is a discussion on the latest copy of the packaging of Xiaomi mobile phone overseas market. In order to avoid misunderstanding, the explanation is as follows:
This copy is from the promotion requirements of the partners in the latest cooperation agreement, similar to the “power by android” displayed on the Android phone and the “intel inside” on the computer.
Because the previous version of the agreement between Xiaomi and its partners has expired, Xiaomi becomes the first batch of contracted manufacturers of the new version of the cooperation agreement, and is also the first manufacturer to release new products after it becomes effective.
We hope that global mobile phone manufacturers can cooperate smoothly with all partners to create a richer ecosystem.
As XDA Developers explains, it is likely that the release of the Mi 10 series coincided with Xiaomi having signed a new Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) that contained a new marketing clause. So, do not be surprised if more Android OEMs follow suit in the coming months as their existing MADAs expire.
In short, it seems that Xiaomi is the first example of Google leveraging its Android OEMs to do battle with Huawei. The reasons behind such phrasing could be innocuous, of course. However, with Huawei ramping up its App Gallery efforts, it seems like Google is making a play to remind people of the importance of its apps and services before they think of switching to Huawei or Honor.