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TheStreet Open House

Google Wants News Phones To Be 'Powered By Android'

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG) says enough is enough, as the company wants everyone to remember that its Android operating system software is what fuels the majority of smartphones on the market.

Starting with the new HTC One(M8) and Samsung's Galaxy S5, all new phones using the OS will have to prominently proclaim "Powered by Android." The offerings from HTC and Samsung already do so on their start-up screens.

The Geek Website reports the new phrase isn't optional -- Google admits it has changed its Mobile Services agreement for Android phones. It now states the Android logo must show-up during the boot process of all new Android phones. If not, those devices will not be allowed to access the Google Play app store.

Google shares were gaining more than 1% to $1,133.00 in early New York trading.



Google's mandate is understandable, as every year the company sees dozens of new Android phones reach the market, with few of them running stock Android software. Many manufacturers add their own software apps, look and feel, sometimes referred to as skins.

Looking at just the latest offerings from HTC and Samsung, they look like they run on completely different operating systems compared to the Nexus 5. All three devices use the latest version of Android - 4.4.2 (KitKat) - but all look and operate in very different ways.

Samsung adds what it calls "TouchWiz." HTC calls it's design "Sense." Others manufacturers have different names which to varying degrees change the look and feel of Android to suit their corporate needs. Those needs include directing users to different Websites and stores where they'll spend more on other-branded goods and services.

Apple (AAPL) doesn't have the same problem since it controls every facet of production. It owns both the iPhone hardware and iOS software, with the Apple logo featured prominently on all of its devices. It doesn't matter whether users remember what the operating system is called - the iPhone name alone has become a powerful marketing tool.

Samsung avoided mentioning the term Android when it introduced the Galaxy S5 in Barcelona, last month.

Google's isn't trying to stop manufacturers from customizing their Android models. Instead, it wants everyone to remember that Android is the engine behind all the other new technological features in every new smartphone based on its software.

The public knows the Google brand, and the now company wants to make sure that Android will be just as well known from now on.

Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

To submit a news tip, send an email to tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's Senior Technology Correspondent.

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