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Asus, HTC, LG and other Android licensees join Samsung in faking test results

Cheating test scores and misrepresenting device capabilities are rampant at Samsung, but are also being used by virtually every other Android licensee apart from Google itself, research shows.

Samsung has been shamed twice this year by confirmed reports of its intentional falsification of performance benchmarks involving both of its flagship products: the Galaxy S4 and Note 3.

According to testing by Anand Lal Shimpi and Brian Klug of AnandTech, benchmark cheats are not limited to Samsung, but rather pandemic among Android licensees.

"With the exception of Apple and Motorola," the site observed, "literally every single OEM we’ve worked with ships (or has shipped) at least one device" that similarly fudges benchmarks.

Even the cheating on Android is fragmented

However, since each Android licensee cheats in different ways on different types of benchmarks, it's difficult to benchmark the benchmark cheating. It's also hard to convince them to stop, authors stated.

"Virtually all Android vendors appear to keep their own lists of applications that matter and need optimizing," the report observed. "The lists grow/change over time, and they don’t all overlap. With these types of situations it’s almost impossible to get any one vendor to be the first to stop. The only hope resides in those who don’t partake today, and of course with the rest of the ecosystem."

The lone holdout to Android's rampant cheating is Google and its Motorola subsidiary and Nexus brand. However, those products collectively make up only a tiny fraction of Android sales, and are intended to serve as a guiding reference model to other Android licensees.

Specifically, Google's "pure Android" products intend to demonstrate to mass Android manufacturers how to deliver clean, updated products that take advantage of features in the latest version of the OS, enable uses to get timely updates after purchase and direct users' attention and revenue exclusively to Google.

Android licensees haven't followed Google's lead in any of those respects. Instead, Chinese and Korean hardware makers have done the same thing they did to Microsoft Windows in the PC market: race to the bottom to deliver super cheap products that cheat on specs, substitute substandard components, skimp on build quality and direct attention to their own layers of junkware, ads and subscription plans.