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General Mobile attempted to pass off community build as official Android Q beta

When Google rolled out Android Q beta to the first — and so far only — wave of non-Pixel phones, there were companies who were left out of the action. General Mobile, an OEM based out of Turkey, was among these, but they decided to take matters into their own hands by using an Android Q build from the developer community.

As reported by XDA-Developers, General Mobile began distributing an “official” Android Q beta for their GM 9 Pro and GM 8 phones both through their official website and the GSMTurkey forums. A member of the XDA community dug into the release to find out how the OEM was able to release Android Q seemingly without going through Google.

What they found is that General Mobile had altered an Android Q GSI (generic system image) to suit the needs of their phones. While Google provides their own AOSP-based GSI, General Mobile used one created by erfanoabdi and phhusson and shared publicly on the XDA-Developers forum. Evidence of both developers’ names was found in various files throughout the GSI, and it seemed to be relatively unchanged overall from that public build.

At first blush, this seems like a creative solution from General Mobile, allowing them to get a leg up on other competitors who also didn’t get official Android Q access. However, according to XDA, the official thread on GSMTurkey did not give credit to either erfanoabdi or phhusson for their work. Essentially, General Mobile took the work of the developer community as their own and called it their official beta.

Shortly after this fact was discovered and publicized, General Mobile reportedly included credit for the two developers on the announcement post, though this post seems to have since been deleted. General Mobile’s Android Q beta sign up page, however, has not been updated to credit either developer, but also no longer allows users to register their devices.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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