Android device users who run Google apps on devices that are not certified by Google receive "Device is not certified by Google" messages when they attempt to open Google applications such as Google Maps or Gmail on their devices.
Google Apps refers to a set of applications that most Android devices come with automatically; affected users can't access any of these apps, Google Play store for instance.
While it is still possible to install Google applications on blocked Android devices, it appears that they refuse to work properly on affected devices.
A report on the XDA Developers forum suggests that the change happened on March 16, and that any build made after that date is affected by the change.
The change affects users who run custom ROMS and any device that did not go through the certification process. Google appears to maintain a whitelist of custom ROMs, however, so that users who run these don't have to go through the whitelisting process described below.
Android users can manually register their devices to get it certified. This appears to be the only option right now for users who are affected by the change.
Some users commented that their uncertified device is not -- yet -- affected by the restriction.
How to get a manual certification from Google
Update: It appears that Google expects the IMEI and not the Android ID despite stating that it wants users to enter the ID on the registration site. To get the IMEI, open the dialer on the phone and use the buttons to type *#06#. The IMEI is displayed on the screen after the last character.
The very first thing that you need to do is look up the Android ID if you don't know it. Note that the Android ID may change if you install a new ROM or make other changes to the device.
Once you have the ID open the following Google page to register the device manually. Note that you need to sign in to a Google account and that the system limits registrations to 100 devices per user to avoid abuse my manufacturers.
Tip: Titanium Backup can restore the Android ID on a device.
Why is Google doing this?
The short answer is control. Manufacturers could load Google applications on their devices without certification in the past and these apps would work just fine.
Google changed this so that the company's applications won't work anymore on uncertified devices.
While users have a way out right now by registering the device to regain access to Google applications, manufacturers and creators of custom ROMs, on the other hand, are left with two choices:
- Don't install any Google apps on the device.
- Get certification for the device to ship the device with Google apps preinstalled.
Certification comes with a list of requirements that may change between different Android versions. It requires, for instance, that the minimum diagonal size of the device has to be at least 2.5 inches, must include a guest account, and use specified parameters when building the operating system.
Now You: Are you affected by the change? What's your take on it?