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Without Google play services 33% of Android apps don't work [answered]

asked 2018-05-20 04:29:29 +0200

rfa gravatar image


This is just a whinge.

I don't want to use Google Play Services, there is a reason I use SailfishOS. But without a realistic competitor I'm forced to.

Last week I needed a taxi, but uber won't work without gps. I want to listen to music on Bandcamp & it won't work without gps. The list goes on and on...

Doubtfully, but hopefully version 3.0 of SailfishOS updates Android emulation to at least 5.0 & more apps become available (specifically SteamLink).

Otherwise what? A dumb phone & a tablet?

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The question has been closed for the following reason "the question is answered, an answer was accepted" by rfa
close date 2018-06-06 23:46:45.732960



Even with Android phone without gapps I couldn't park a car :(

Marzanna ( 2018-05-20 07:52:07 +0200 )edit

Nobody's forcing you to use Android. If Uber doesn't want your business unless you have Google Play, fine, call a taxi. And I don't know what Bandcamp is, but if you want to stream music there's a native Spotify app that still works - otherwise works in the stock browser and is completely free. OR you could always copy music files locally to your SD card, which doesn't have to be max 32Gb as Joll says. I use an ext4-formatted Sandisk Ultra 128Gb without problems, and it has tens of thousands of mp3s on it.

@Marzanna What? Who needs an app to park a car? What has the world come to? You need an app to brush your teeth as well?

The only thing anyone who says they need Android really needs is to stop being a sheep.

bocephus ( 2018-05-20 08:14:49 +0200 )edit

What are you trying to say? "I don't want to use Google Play Services so I want Sailfish to use Google Play Services"? Android is no longer a free OS, so you won't be able to (legally) get full Android compatibility here. Just as you won't get iOS compatibility. If you want Apple, buy an iPhone. If you want Google Play Services, buy an Android phone.Sonetimes the world is as simple as it seems.

ossi1967 ( 2018-05-20 09:37:14 +0200 )edit

I don't want to give up on SailfishOS. I don't want Android. I won't use iOS. I don't want constant advertising on my phone.

I do want a non US operating system. I do want privacy. I do want to be able to use apps without being tracked by Google. I want to be able to do the same things on my phone I could 8 years ago.

@bocephus I have a 200 gb card for music (& every photo I've taken in the last 8 years: N900, N9, 830 & Xperia X). I understand @Marzanna 's issue: unless you're using an iOS or Android (>5.0 + gps) device you're unable to use that service - whether it's uber, car parks or Steam Link

rfa ( 2018-05-20 10:13:07 +0200 )edit

@rfa: Then fo and complain to Uber and Steam Link. I do see the point of this thread at all.

ossi1967 ( 2018-05-20 10:46:50 +0200 )edit

5 Answers

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answered 2018-05-20 14:30:50 +0200

Direc gravatar image

updated 2018-05-22 18:31:43 +0200

TL;DR It is the app developers to blame, not Jolla.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, that Google even provides Android without Google Play Services (very simply put) - this is called AOSP (at least with Sony), and is exactly which e.g. Sailfish X is built on top of.

First thing to understand is that simply referring to "Android" does not imply having Google Play Services installed. Android is the underlying operating system (how it relates to underlying Linux is another topic altogether), and Google Play Services is a framework running on top of Android. A bit like you can have plain Windows installed and complain that this application does not work, because you don't have .NET framework installed. Really really REALLY roughly put here, but you get the idea.

It is not Jolla to blame, if an Android app requires Google Play Services. However, it is Jollas decision not to even try to get it there, so that is what we have to live with. The most apparent reason to this is privacy. However, it still seems to be possible to install it afterwars (I only tried this with Jolla 1, not with Sony Xperia X) which kinda proves that it is a legal issue, not a techical one.

Google Play Services requirement on application side boils down to three things: functionality, money and choice of app manufacturers.

First: functionality: There are a lot of useful functionality (these are guesses really - location, maps, payments) that can be utilized through the use of Google Play Services, so that the developer doesn't need to implement those itself. There may also be some hardware requirements that need to be met, and AFAIK Google Play can tell, if your device is not compatible at hardware level (e.g. NFC, Bluetooth LE). This just makes the app developers' lives so much easier and development much faster.

Second: money. Google Play Services provide means to display ads and get paid for your work. That's that we all want, right? Also you can more easily make your application purchasable in Google Play Store. Without it you would have to implement some licensing magic yourself, and that's a lot of work, for sure.

Third: choice. The application manufacturer may just decide to not pay mind to devices without actual Google Play Services support, and even check for the support and refuse to work altogether. This includes, say, banking applications, where the device must not be compromised. And, as sad as it is, making sure the device is not tampered with, is a lot easier to do via Google Play Services, because in order for the device to have it installed, it already means it is officially licensed and (hopefully) a trusted device. (Example: some banking apps.)

Now, what Google has to do with this? In order to have the widest audience to your app, you have to get it installed to Play Store. As far as I know, the application does not need to depend on Googe Play Services, it just needs to conform to whatever criteria there is, I do not know. As an example, there are many applications out there that are both in Play Store (and possibly available elsewhere) which work just fine without Google Play Services: WhatsApp, Here WEGO, Telegram, Spotify, Firefox... The list is long. Then there are applications just don't play ball without the services installed: Fuel Fellow, YouTube (this is kind of obvious, isn't it?), ParkMan...

We just have to push application developers to provide functional apps without requiring Google Play Services. Keep giving feedback to the developers!

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However, it is Jollas decision not to even try to get it there,

Not really, no. It's Google's licensing restrictions.

ossi1967 ( 2018-05-20 15:10:54 +0200 )edit

Well that is one of the most details answers I have come across here, well done

DameCENO ( 2018-05-21 15:35:17 +0200 )edit

AFAIK Google Play Services are not needed to make money or for licensing/app protection. Your other points seem valid though.

naytsyrhc ( 2018-05-22 21:22:03 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-05-20 15:38:29 +0200

lpr gravatar image

please vote for better microg integration and hope this will happen in aliendalvik...

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answered 2018-05-20 16:46:31 +0200

L_A_G gravatar image

My understanding is that it's not just that Jolla doesn't want to include Play Store services, it's also that they're legally not allowed to do that, either out-of-the-box or as an official download. To be allowed to include the Play Store you need to sign up for a partnership with Google trough something called the "Open Handset Alliance" and that involves not only getting approval from Google, which they obviously won't give to the makers of a non-Android OS, but also involves giving up a lot of control on your platform to Google.

This is incidentally the same reason why most android forks don't have Play Store installed by default and why not all Android device makers include the Play Services. What it all really boils down to is Google wanting to control their platform to an extent that doesn't work with what everyone who wants to use or be compatible with that platform wants to do.

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our aim has to be getting microg services to work easily and save and not to rely on closed source, proprietary licensed google-package

lpr ( 2018-05-20 17:05:06 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-05-21 09:07:20 +0200

DiBasse gravatar image

updated 2018-05-21 09:07:43 +0200

Sometimes I have asked for a specific app to be sent to me by email. Sometimes it has worked, sometimes not. Maybe if the company who distributes it through Play Store would consider alternative locations (I dare to daydream about Jolla Store having my bank app) the problem would be solved. Unless the devious app coder includes google maps or some other prohibiting piece of code in his work...

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If the app will run without google play services but still lives only on Google Play you can use the Yalp Store application to get it from there:

I'ts basically an open-source Google Play client independent on google play services.

MartinK ( 2018-05-21 12:11:55 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-05-22 19:24:06 +0200

ExPLIT gravatar image

I told many times: Who needs all shiny Android Apps should use an Android Phone. Maybe LineageOS or something like that.

Some Android Apps runs in the Alien Dalvik on Jolla Device, but to use an Jolla Device, because to use Android Apps inside? I don't understand why somebody should do this?

Every boy/girl who use Whatsapp, Google Apps etc. has alredy lost his/her privacy, and really don't need an Jolla Phone. This Shiny Android Apps would much better run on a real Android.

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totally wrong. Even an app like KATWARN requires play services. Not only shiny apps that send all your data to app-developer and/or google. Easy and save microG integration for aliendalvik is a must ...

lpr ( 2018-05-22 20:07:39 +0200 )edit

Probably nobody wants run specifically _Android_ apps. People want or need to run apps which incidentally are only available for Android and maybe IOS. It is quite snobbish to belittle those people and maybe you want to keep the circle of SF OS users a small exclusive circle. But this will kill Jolla and your exclusive status toy eventually!

Stefanix ( 2018-05-23 09:10:20 +0200 )edit

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Asked: 2018-05-20 04:29:29 +0200

Seen: 2,144 times

Last updated: May 22 '18