GMS Google Mobile Services

What is GMS(Google Mobile Services)?

When it comes to Android, not all versions of the operating system are the same — far from it, in fact. One of the defining differences is the way in which the OS is built: does it use Google Mobile Services (GMS) or is it a pure AOSP device?

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There’s a big difference between the two, and one may be better than the other depending on what you’re trying to do.

What is GMS(Google Mobile Services)?

GMS stands for Google Mobile Services. It’s a bundle of applications and services built by Google that comes pre-installed on GMS-certified Android devices, such as android tablets for sale, android smartphones. GMS is not part of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which means device manufacturers need to be licensed to pre-install the GMS bundle on devices.

GMS provides services such as GooglePlay, Search, Search by Voice, Gmail, Contact Sync, Calendar Sync, Talk, Maps, Street View, YouTube, Android Market, etc. GMS provides support for Google’s series of applications on Android.

GMS Google Mobile Services

For Android, it Is an Android device configuration service.

In addition, specific packages from Google are available only on GMS-certified devices. Many mainstream Android applications are dependent on GMS package capabilities like SafetyNet APIs, Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM), or Crashlytics. If you have an app with GMS dependencies, switching to non-GMS Android requires some planning — but it’s far from impossible.

Google makes APIs available for many of its services on Windows and macOS via the browser or standalone app support, making integration achievable for non-GMS Android devices. For example, using the Google Drive API, you can integrate Drive directly into your Android app without any reliance on GMS. You can also implement programmatic access to Gmail using the Gmail API.

While there are real benefits for app developers working with GMS devices (like lowering development time and potentially delivering superior experiences), you can still access many of these services using Google’s own programmatic APIs.

Consumer Android vs. GMS Android devices

The Android operating system many of us use every day is based on open-source software. That means its code is publicly available and can be endlessly modified by brands like Samsung. But that doesn’t mean all of Android is open-source. The vast majority of Android devices aren’t, in fact, running pure and open-source Android. You can thank Google Mobile Services (GMS) for that.

In a nutshell, the open-source component of Android is the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). GMS, on the other hand, lives on top of AOSP and provides much of the nice-to-have functionality you may have come to expect from modern-day Android.

GMS Google Mobile Services

The key distinction between the two, however, is that GMS is not open-source. Instead, Google licenses it to device manufacturers or OEMs for free. However, it’s selective when it comes to licensing, so not every brand makes the cut.

Do all Android devices include GMS?

Even though GMS is ubiquitous these days, it’s not exactly easy for manufacturers to include. Device manufacturers require a license from Google in order to bundle GMS. Thereafter, each device they produce should also meet minimum criteria.

The certification also called the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA), requires manufacturers to pre-install certain Google apps like the Chrome web browser and the Play Store.

The tests conducted to determine a device’s eligibility for GMS certification are quite comprehensive. The Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) is updated every time a new version of Android releases.

GMS Google Mobile Services

Benefits of GMS

Some advantages of GMS are the following:

  • access to a large number of productive applications under GMS;
  • uniform functionality and support for various Android devices;
  • ensured application stability and security through Google’s guidelines;
  • enabled system updates and patches to ensure that applications consistently operate properly;
  • support for over-the-air updates.

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Google Mobile Services (GMS) is a collection of applications and application programming interfaces (APIs) developed by Google for manufacturers of Android devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
GMS apps and APIs are proprietary code that can be added to the Android operating system once it’s permitted by Google. GMS includes Gmail, Google Maps, Google Calendar, the Google Play Store, Google Search, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Chrome, Google Photos, Google Duo, Google Assistant, and Google Video.