Carphone Warehouse is investigating claims that its £50 Android tablet was produced without coughing up the right licensing fees to Google.
Mobile Magazine quotes industry sources claiming the supplier of the Avoca 7 tablet failed to pay for a license to include support for Google apps and the Google Play online store.
A Carphone Warehouse spokesperson told CNET, "Our Avoca tablet was made for us by a UK supplier who handled all of the manufacturing process, including securing the necessary licenses. It is part of our contract that they have the right licences for the tablet and we were assured those were in place. We are nevertheless following up and looking into this further."
Mobile Magazine reports that the gaffe has lumbered Carphone Warehouse with unsold stock, which the Carphone Warehouse spokesperson denies.
CNET readers have complained that even after ordering the Avoca, they have been told by Carphone Warehouse they will be sent an alternative tablet made by Binatone instead. Update: Carphone Warehouse has confirmed to me that in order to meet the demand for the Avoca tablet, it is sending customers a higher-specced dual-core Binatone tablet.
Android is free open source software that can be used by anyone to power a device. But in order for a device to include GMS apps and services -- the built-in Googley stuff like Google Maps and Google Now -- and to download more apps through the official Google Play store, the manufacturer has to pay a license fee. Google declined to comment on the Avoca tablet.
Carphone Warehouse slashed the price of the Avoca 7 to £50 from £100 at the tail end of last month, but within days the tablet had sold out.
The 7-inch tablet is built under the Avoca brand by British company STB Developments, which makes set-top boxes. STB has not responded to requests for comment.
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