Thursday, January 27, 2022

Google’s Sonos lawsuit dodge might let other phone makers do what Pixel cannot

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You might suppose a Google phone can be the only option to manage your Google-branded audio system, however that’s not essentially true: Google’s actions have doubtlessly opened the door for other producers to do what the Pixel legally cannot, writes Android sleuth Mishaal Rahman at Esper.

Last week, we wrote how “Your Google home speakers are about to get slightly worse because Sonos sued and won.” If you’re utilizing a Google Pixel, that’s true — amongst other issues, you gained’t be capable to management the amount of a multi-zone Google Cast speaker group. That’s as a result of the US International Trade Commission dominated that Google copied Sonos’ know-how and threatened to dam imports until Google applied 5 particular software program tweaks. One of the Sonos patents particularly handled controlling quantity of a multi-zone speaker group.

But when Rahman dug into the Android 12 code, he discovered that the means Google disabled distant speaker group quantity management is extremely fundamental: Google merely set a single worth from “true” to “false” by itself Pixel telephones. Rahman writes:

the second patch appears tailor-made to permit Google to ship Pixel telephones with out the power to manage the amount of distant speaker group classes. But it additionally leaves a straightforward means for OEMs to ship their very own units with the characteristic enabled. All an OEM must do is construct AOSP with GMS and go away the default worth (‘true’) for the config_volumeAdjustmentForRemoteGroupSessions flag in place.

It seems like if Samsung or Xiaomi (presently the world’s prime two Android producers) need their telephones to manage the amount of a whole speaker group (one thing a Google Pixel can not do as of the newest replace), they don’t must raise any extra fingers. They simply must keep away from deliberately turning it off. And Rahman says that — a minimum of in beta — the upcoming Android 12L works this manner as nicely.

(For the uninitiated, “build AOSP with GMS” merely means to take the fundamental model of Android that Google provides free to producers, with the Google providers that the corporate usually licenses with it, which is what most Android phone makers do anyhow earlier than they pores and skin Android with additions of their very own.)

None of because of this any phone maker will essentially take Google up on this chance. For all I do know — I’m not a lawyer — Sonos might simply flip round and sue them, too, utilizing its victory in opposition to Google as precedent. But it’s all very intriguing to consider.

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