As reported by XDA-Developers, based on their own research and information provided by a service provider for device manufacturers, Google discontinued certification of new devices for use with the Play Store and other in-house apps for models running Android 7.x “Nougat” back in March. Certification is a must for manufacturers if they want to be featured on the Play Store and have Google’s standard apps like Gmail, Google Maps & Co on their products.
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That Google discontinues Play Store certification for devices with an older version of Android is basically not unusual, but part of Google’s day-to-day operations as an operating system provider. To pre-install Play Services and gain access to the main app store for Android devices, manufacturers must meet the requirements of the Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). This is the only way they can successfully complete the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) for a specific version of Android, and then receive Google Play certification.
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Since the end of March, the conditions for Play Store certification have changed again, making Android 8.x “Oreo” mandatory. Incidentally, this gave the manufacturers more time than before, because, after the introduction of Android 7.x “Nougat”, the certification of devices with the previous version was already over after just five months. It took at least seven months for Android 8.x “Oreo”.
Of course, the “end” of “Nougat” has advantages for the customers, as all new Android smartphones introduced outside of China almost always come with Android 8.x “Oreo”. If a manufacturer still starts with a nougat device in the coming months, it is quite clear that this is an older model that must have passed Play certification months before.