Play Points

In response to a €4.3 billion fine on European antitrust charges, Google is now charging Android device manufacturers a license fee to distribute its signature app suite, which includes the Play Store, YouTube, Drive, Maps and others.

Google announced that it would continue to not charge fore Android OS distribution as well as Google search and Chrome browser. The latter two have generated money, the company claims, to offset the free spread of Android, but it did not publicly specify how much money GApps would command for devices bound for the European Economic Area — the 28 European Union member countries as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Documents leaked to The Verge have revealed several rates that manufacturers will pay based on destination and a device’s display’s pixel density.

Smartphones destined for the most expensive tier of countries, which includes Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK, would be assessed a $40 fee if the display has more than 500 pixels per inch. Devices above the 400ppi threshold are assessed a $20 fee while those under it will be charged $10. The lowest possible unit fee is $2.50. The fee for tablets is capped at $20 per unit.

If manufacturers opt against pre-loading and placing the Chrome app in the home screen dock for their EEA devices, they will not receive a share of revenue generated from Chrome.

It’ll take time to see how this new fee structure impacts the mobile industry in Europe. Secondary app markets, display resolution choices and added costs will all play a role as Google moves forward with Android, at least for the time being.

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