Cheap TV boxes or development boards that can run Android, are not normally certified by Google, but you can still use Google Apps like the Google Play Store either directly with the manufacturer pre-loading the packages on the device, or manually by installing the packages yourself.
According to a report by XDA developers, Google has made it harder to load Gapps on uncertified devices starting from March 16th, and if you try to login on a new custom firmware you may get the message “Device is not certified by Google” when accessing a Google app.
The change will apparently only affect newly built firmware , so older firmware should still be able to access Google Play store (TBC). We’ll have to see how it turns out. Google Play Services is said to check ro.build.fingerprint for the build date, but it seems too easy to work around this, if that’s the only check they do.
To check if your Android device is certified, go to Settings, scroll to the bottom and check Device Certification.
A “solution” to make sure it does not happen to you is to buy TV boxes running “Android TV” OS, which should always be certified. For older TV boxes that need to be upgraded after March 16th, development boards, or custom ROMs, the users themselves would have to register his/their device(s) – up to 100 maximum – to work around the limitation.
Thanks to Jon for the tip.