Carphone Warehouse has launched an investigation into the cut-price Avoca 7 tablet, after claims the Android device's software was not licenced by Google.
The Android tablet, launched in late October, was supplied to Carphone Warehouse by set top box supplier STB Developments, in what was the supplier’s first foray into the tablet market. The launch of the £49 Avoca 7 tablet saw Carphone Warehouse go head to head with rivals Tesco and Argos, undercutting both the £99 Argos MyTablet and the £129 Tesco Hudl.
However, within days of launch, the Avoca 7 tablet was no longer on offer at the retailer's stores with staff claiming it was ‘sold out’. A Carphone Warehouse spokesperson strenously denied claims from a number of industry sources that the retailer pulled the tablet after it emerged that the supplier had failed to ensure it was licensed by Google. Although Google is open source, the use of Google Mobile Services (GMS) and Google Play on Android devices is granted under license. Google has a number of minimum technical requirements that devices need to meet in order to come pre-loaded with its GMS suite of apps and is known to enforce these licenses.
One industry source said: ‘Carphone has pulled its £49 tablet because it was not licensed by Google. Someone screwed up and now they are holding a lot of stock they can’t shift.’
A Carphone Warehouse spokeswoman said the retailer is investigating the claims but stressed the tablet had sold out within days of it going on sale. A spokeswoman said: ‘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 looking into this further.’
Google declined to comment. Despite numerous requests, STB Developments were not available for comment.
Author: Carol Millett