Android as an operating system is a wide open environment ripe for modification by the likes of developers from all angles, including those from the group Paranoid Android. These folks have announced this week a release of a bit of code that'll allow 3rd party software makers to take advantage of the newest Google Android apps on the market, even for those Android builds not approved by Google. In effect, this is a setup Google would not approve of in and of itself as their whole profit model (for Android) is built around approving Android-toting devices for use with the Google Play app and media store.
It works like this: A manufacturer decides that they want to make a smartphone running Android. They create this smartphone and plug Android in, showing the device then to Google. If Google approves, it effectively becomes an official Google device (not owned by them, but approved), and the manufacturer is allowed to run the Google Play app store on the device right out of the box.
This approval is also a bit of an agreement between Google and the manufacturer, this including the addition of a number of other apps like Gmail, Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Music. These apps are not available through non-Google app stores for Android. One of the more notable non-Google Android app stores is the Amazon Appstore.
Android devices can be hacked - relatively easy, in most cases - to run custom software and custom operating systems in the form of a ROM. A ROM is a replacement of the basic Android operating system - the most popular ROM in the wild today being CyanogenMod. There's also the Paranoid Android build itself, of course.
When a user loads a ROM like CyanogenMod, they do so knowing they'll not have the normal collection of "GAPPS", or Google Apps, once the system is loaded. To get these apps back, the creators of the ROM often supply another file which contains said apps separately. This method allows the ROM developer to remain free of illegal inclusion of the apps in their basic build.
This situation often results in older versions of the GAPPS suite being loaded instead of the newest versions. This is easily remedied with a quick update through the Google Play app store, but the folks at Paranoid Android are set to remedy the problem at the source.
We all know this is a legal gray area but let's face it, the outdated, broken, buggy, incomplete packages which are distributed throughout the developer/Rom scene do more harm than good. If Google decides to turn a blind eye on this let us at least do them the courtesy of making sure the original Google experience isn't broken or adulterated!
With 0-Day GAPPS, the folks at Paranoid Android are offering up a way for developers to include a file with the newest Google Apps whenever the ROM itself is loaded. What's more, these apps are able to survive ROM updates, and when loaded with the Paranoid Android ROM itself, they auto-update over-the-air.
Sound good? Developers can begin taking advantage of this system immediately - meanwhile those of you who load custom ROMs on the daily can expect the newest in new quite regularly from now on. You'll also find an XDA Developers forum post on this subject as well, with full support.