Why Some Android Phones Don’t Have the Play Store

Huawei phones, Amazon tablets, and Google Pixel phones all run Android, but one of those groups of devices doesn’t have access to the Google Play Store—and another could lose it very soon. But why is that? If you’re wondering what exactly Android is and isn’t and why the Play Store only seems to appear on some Android products, we’re about to lay out the details, and explain how it could affect your choice of devices in the future.

At the very base level of Android is what’s called the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). As you can tell from the name, it’s open source: Code is freely available to view and can be freely used and edited by anyone. The AOSP is primarily maintained and developed by engineers at Google, and is itself based on open source Linux software.

Most Android phone makers use the AOSP as the base for their own skinned version of Android, which is why it looks different on Samsung phones, LG phones, Xiaomi phones, OnePlus phones, and so on. Each company has its own team of software developers that takes what Google as done with the base layer of Android and built on top of it. So far so straightforward.

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