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Bypassing Google’s Sonos proceedings could allow other phone makers to do things they can’t do with the Pixel.

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You may think that Google phones are the best choice for controlling Google branded speakers, but that’s not always the case. Android detective Mishaal Rahman wrote in Esper that Google’s actions could allow other manufacturers to do things that Pixel can’t legally do. ..

Last week, I wrote that Google’s home speaker is likely to get a little worse as Sonos filed a proceeding and won. Especially if you’re using a Google Pixel, you can’t control the volume of a multi-zone Google Cast speaker group. This is because the European Parliament Committee on International Trade has determined that Google has copied Sonos technology and threatened to block imports unless Google implements five specific software adjustments. One of Sonos’ patents specifically deals with volume control for multi-zone speaker groups.

However, when Rahman delved into the Android 12 code, it turned out that the way Google disabled volume control for remote speaker groups was very basic. Google only sets a single value from true to false on its Pixel smartphone. Rahman writes:

The second patch seems to be tuned to allow Google to ship Pixel smartphones without the ability to control the volume of remote speaker group sessions. However, there is also an easy way for OEMs to enable this feature and ship their own devices. All the OEM needs to do is build the AOSP using GMS and leave the default value (true) for the config_volumeAdjustmentForRemoteGroupSessions flag.

If Samsung or Xiaomi (currently the world’s top two Android makers) wants to control the volume of the entire speaker group (what Google Pixel can’t do at the time of the latest update), it doesn’t seem necessary to lift them. Additional fingers. You should avoid turning it off intentionally. And Rahman states that the next Android 12L will work this way, at least in beta.

(For beginners, building AOSP using GMS means using the basic version of Android that Google provides to manufacturers for free and the Google services that the company generally licenses. Means. This is what most Android mobile phone makers do before skinning Android. With their own additions.)

None of this means that phone makers will necessarily take Google up for this possibility. For everyone who knows I’m not a lawyer, Sonos could also use the victory over Google as a precedent to look back and sue them. But it’s very interesting to think about all of them.

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.theverge.com/2022/1/14/22883982/google-sonos-ban-workaround-speaker-groups-aosp-volume-control

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