Every Android device comes preloaded with a few different sets of apps, some chosen by the OEM, some by the cell carrier, and usually a set of Google apps. We’ve now learned precisely which apps Google has mandated inclusion on Android 10 and Android Go phones with Google services, which includes some surprising additions.
9to5Google was provided a copy of the latest version of the Google Mobile Services (GMS) agreement that OEMs have to abide by. This document lays out requirements for Android device makers, and it reveals a lot of interesting information about what device makers have to be compliant with. In the document, we found several sections laying out the default apps for Android 10 and Android Go devices.
Android 10 Google apps
For a new device to be compliant with Google’s rules and provide Google services, OEMs need to include a minimum set of Google apps — or “Core apps” — at first boot. Over the years this list has evolved, and we now have the most recent list of required Google apps for Android 10 devices. Of course, as some of these apps may not be available in all countries, Google allows OEMs to not include them if that is the case.
- Google Play Store
- Google Search
- Chrome Browser
- Google Drive
- Google Duo
- Google Play Music
- Google Photos
- Google Play Movies
Just below the list, in our copy of the document, there’s a note about a change that hasn’t gone into effect yet. Apparently beginning next month, YouTube Music will be a “Core app,” replacing Google Play Music. YouTube previously outlined that change publicly, though there was no date attached in their announcement.
Another interesting footnote reveals that, in November of last year, Google Duo replaced Hangouts as a Core app for “non-Telephony” devices, like tablets. The timing of this change actually predates our original report on the shutdown of Google Hangouts ‘classic’ by almost a month.
Note on Android Auto
Further down in the document, there’s also a special note about Android Auto. According to the documentation, all devices launching on or upgrading to Android 10 — excluding Android Go phones and non-telephony devices like tablets — “MUST preload the Android Auto app as a privileged, headless Core service app in the system image.”
By “headless,” they most likely mean that there’s no app icon in the app drawer, normally used to launch the “phone screen” experience for Android Auto, which is slowly being deprecated in favor of Google Assistant Driving Mode. This also lines up with some changes that happened to Android Auto during the Android Q Beta period that led to the app’s icon disappearing from the app drawer for some.
Regardless, this means that all Android 10 devices will be able to connect to an Android Auto head unit without needing to first install the Android Auto app.
Android Go Google apps
Elsewhere in the document, we find a list of the Google applications required to be included on Android Go phones. Below the list, there’s a note that Gallery Go is only a “Core app” as of the beginning of next month. It’s interesting that Files by Google, previously known as “Files Go,” is not considered a “Core app” for Android Go phones.
- Gboard (lightweight version for Go)
- Assistant Go
- Gallery Go
- Gmail Go
- Google Go
- Maps Go
- Play Store
- YouTube Go (or YouTube if allowed in country)
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