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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Google’s Sonos lawsuit dodge would possibly let different cellphone makers do what Pixel can’t

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You would possibly assume a Google cellphone can be your best option to manage your Google-branded audio system, however that’s not essentially true: Google’s actions have probably opened the door for different producers to do what the Pixel legally can’t, writes Android sleuth Mishaal Rahman at Esper.

Final week, we wrote how “Your Google home speakers are about to get slightly worse because Sonos sued and won.” For those who’re utilizing a Google Pixel, that’s true — amongst different issues, you gained’t have the ability to management the amount of a multi-zone Google Solid speaker group. That’s as a result of the US Worldwide Commerce Fee ruled that Google copied Sonos’ technology and threatened to block imports except Google carried out 5 particular software program tweaks. One of many Sonos patents particularly handled controlling quantity of a multi-zone speaker group.

However when Rahman dug into the Android 12 code, he discovered that the method Google disabled distant speaker group quantity management is extremely primary: 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 flexibility to manage the amount of distant speaker group periods. But it surely additionally leaves a straightforward method for OEMs to ship their very own units with the function enabled. All an OEM must do is construct AOSP with GMS and depart the default worth (‘true’) for the config_volumeAdjustmentForRemoteGroupSessions flag in place.

It seems like if Samsung or Xiaomi (at the moment 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 now 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 — at the very least in beta — the upcoming Android 12L works this fashion as nicely.

(For the uninitiated, “construct AOSP with GMS” merely means to take the basic version of Android that Google gives free to producers, with the Google providers that the company generally licenses with it, which is what most Android cellphone makers do anyhow earlier than they pores and skin Android with additions of their very own.)

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

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