Flagship smartphones have gotten much more expensive in recent years, so many OEMs and operators offer payment programs to give consumers the ability to pay for their phones in monthly installments for a longer period.
But what if you can’t make a payment for a month or two? It depends on the company that issued the loan. It appears that Google also wants to make it easier for banks or other credit providers to implement the latest debt collection method.
How did Google stop blocking phones?
On the Google Play Store you can find an application called “Device Lock Controller”. Here is the description of the application on Google Play:
“Device Lock Controller enables device management for credit providers. Your provider may restrict remote access to your device if you don’t make payments. If your device is restricted, basic features like emergency calling and access to settings will still be available. “
The application uses the Android DeviceAdminService API to remotely control the functionality of the device.
This is the same API that companies use to control what employees can do with their work phones. Companies that distribute phones to their employees usually preload applications that use this API, so you can’t disable them.
Probably, a credit provider, such as a bank or other financial institution, could preload the Google Device Lock Controller application before lending a device to their customers, and if the customer is unable to make a payment, they could block the device. remote access. some phone functions.
The device lock controller is not displayed when you search on Google Play or when you search the page for all applications created by Google. However, the developer of this application is clearly Google.
The need for such an application is problematic. Although lenders take a risk when they lend, it is quite counterproductive to disable access to most features.
A smartphone is the primary computing device for millions of people, especially for those who cannot afford a computer and the Internet at home.
Sure, the device lock controller still allows you to make and receive phone calls, but there are so many things on the internet these days that it’s very important to stay connected.
Google has provided more details
A Google spokesperson clarified some details about the Device Lock Controller application. For starters, Google claims to have launched this app in partnership with a Kenyan operator called Safaricom.
In a blog post on July 28, 2020, titled “Increase access and inclusion with cheaper smartphones”, Google talked about the launch of the new “Lipa Mdogo Mdogo” (“Pay Bit by Bit”) financing plan. Safaricom, which allows Kenyans to purchase an Android Go Edition smartphone at affordable rates.
On Safaricom’s FAQ page on this financing plan, the carrier says it will “lock the device” after 4 days of non-payment.
But what about the mysterious aspect of the application in the Google Play Store? Apparently, it was just a mistake. Google has confirmed that the Device Lock Controller application should not be listed in the Google Play Store for US users and will work to remove the list.