In October of last year, Cody found strings in his teardown of the Play Store 7.1 that hinted at a mysterious "Device Certification" label. Back then, he theorized that it could be an indicator of whether your device was indeed GMS certified and thus supposed to have the Play Store or it could be a SafetyNet check to see if your firmware was modified in any form. The correct answer turned out to be the first one.
Several users have reported the appearance of a "Device certification" menu in the Play Store's settings over the past couple of months, but the option was buggy and not so widespread. With the release of Play Store 7.4.12 (APK Mirror link), more users are spotting it although it doesn't show up for everyone just yet and it still seems buggy.
"Device certification" is the last item in the Settings of the Play Store. When it works well, it should tell you if your phone or tablet have been officially approved to run the Play Store and the suite of Google Mobile Services (GMS) apps, which should read as "Certified," or if the Play Store has been transplanted onto your phone without Google's approval, which reads as "Uncertified." Tapping on the menu item will lead you to this Google Support page that explains what the device certification status is and how to interpret the result. But unfortunately, the status isn't properly working yet since many users with Pixels — of all devices — are seeing the "Uncertified" label. That shows that the implementation still isn't completely done.
This is one of the first times I can recall Google trying to surface information to users regarding their Android devices and whether or not the Play Store and other Google apps they're running are legit. Granted, the option is hidden in the last line of the Play Store settings, somewhere not many average users will dare venture or even mistakenly look, but it's there nonetheless. And it should give companies that are bypassing Google's certification process and facilitating the unapproved download of GMS apps (think Meizu and many others) a clear "uncertified" label in the consumer's eye... again, if said consumer ever checked the Play Store's settings and scrolled far enough to see it.
And if they are rebellious enough to tap on it, they'll get this scary message on Google's Support page:
If your device is uncertified, Google doesn’t have a record of the Android compatibility test results.
Please keep in mind that:
- Uncertified devices may not be secure.
- Uncertified devices may not get Android system updates, or app updates.
- Google apps on uncertified devices aren't licensed and may not be real Google apps.
- Apps and features on uncertified devices may not work correctly.
- Data on uncertified devices may not back up securely.
Maybe that'll be enough to deter a small percentage of users away from uncertified manufacturers and non Google partners who are releasing these devices, but it likely won't have such a big impact. If Google plans on cracking down on these OEMs, which I'm not sure is 100% in Google's best interest for now to be completely honest, more drastic steps will need to be taken to stop them from benefitting from GMS apps at all.