Huawei sold over 200 million smartphones last year and is now the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer, behind only Samsung.

In a huge blow to the Chinese firm, Google has confirmed that it will no longer supply software and services to Huawei. It follows a move last week that saw the Trump administration add Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to a trade blacklist.
According to a Google Spokesperson, Google has suspended all business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing.

Google banned Huawei

What are the reasons behind this?

Last week the US announced that it was banning American firms from selling components to Huawei, and barred foreign-made telecoms equipment that it considers poses an unacceptable risk – with the Chinese company the clear target.

The move was a direct response to what the US perceives as an unacceptable risk posed by the use of Huawei equipment in telecom networks, particularly the fifth generation mobile or 5G ones that are being built around the world at the moment.

The US thinks that the Chinese government could use its position to access the equipment and spy on organizations and governments around the world – something both Huawei sold over 200 million smartphones last year and is now the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer, behind only Samsung. and China denies.

Us stopped business with China

Google has worked through the implications for it and has decided it needs to suspend certain access that Huawei has to its mobile operating system services.
The US says it is all about security. But it is hard not to see it as connected to the ongoing trade row between the US and China, which is escalating by the day. Both sides have been negotiating a trade deal, but so far the agreement has not been forthcoming.

The US has been trying to pressurize China in a number of ways to get the deal over the line. Analysts see it as very likely that the Huawei debacles are just another way of doing that.

So in theory, if the trade deal does get agreed in the near term, then the Huawei security issue could start to fade away into the background.

Huawei’s future:

It’s a major issue for Huawei: Users buy Android smartphones expecting to be able to access Google apps such as Gmail, Chrome, and YouTube.

But Huawei has already said that it is working on its own operating system to prepare for an event such as this. CEO of Huawei’s consumer division, Richard Yu, told German publication, Die Welt, that the firm was working on a back-up OS in case it is blocked from using software made by US firms such as Microsoft and Google.“We have prepared our own operating system. Should it ever happen that we can no longer use these systems, we would be prepared,” Yu said, according to CNBC’s translation of the original German text. “That’s our plan B. But of course, we prefer to work with the ecosystems of Google and Microsoft.”

Cold war between Google and Huawei's business

Huawei has been working hard on developing its own App Gallery and other software assets in a similar manner to the work it has done on developing its own chipsets for phones, Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight points out. “There is little doubt these efforts are part of its desire to control its own destiny.”

So it seems likely unless the issue is resolved, that future releases of Huawei smartphones could run on this new operating system.

This might be ok in China, where Google services aren’t widely used. But in the US and Europe, where Google apps are relied upon by many, the absence of these services could prove a big turn off.

All you have to do for an example is to look at what happened when Microsoft built its own Windows Mobile operating system, which never took off.

Should I buy Huawei Mobile at this time?

Google’s Android mobile operating system is used by over 80% of smartphones in the world, including those made by Huawei.

What Google looks set to do because of the ban is to restrict Huawei’s access to future updates to Android.

This would mean that Huawei would only be able to load the openly available or open source version of Android to its phones.

Huawei

This is very much a stripped down version of the operating system and means that future Huawei devices may not be able to access very popular apps, like Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, the Google Play Store and more.

So if you are thinking about buying a Huawei phone in the future, this may be a consideration.
I already have a Huawei phone, is this bad news for me?
Right now, it isn’t completely clear. Google and Huawei both say that those that have existing Huawei devices and those in stock around the world will continue to be able to use Android and the Google suite of apps in a way they already do for the moment at least.

Google was quick to reassure people that current Huawei phones will continue to have access to services including Google Play and security from Google Play Protect.

In a Twitter status, via the Android account, it said:

“For Huawei users’ questions regarding our steps to comply w/ the recent US government actions: We assure you while we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device.”

Huawei Phones

But the full implications of the US decision are still being considered by Google, which may mean that in the future, existing owners of Huawei handsets may see their access to services, like updates, curtailed.

%d bloggers like this: