That could mean that Huawei is unable to use Google services wrapped up in the Android platform and might only get access to open source elements. Crucially, that might mean Huawei no longer gets access to Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, Google Assistant and Google Play. The news was first reported by Reuters and has subsequently been confirmed by Google.
“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson confirmed to Pocket-lint.
“For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”
What this means for owners of exiting Huawei devices – like the new Huawei P30 Pro – is that their device should continue to function as normal, but future updates to Android Q might not happen, although the complete implications of the order aren’t currently clear.
The US Commerce Department has granted Huawei a temporary license, saying Huawei can keep sending software updates to its phones for three months. The license, effective immediately, will expire on 19 August. It allows Huawei to “provide service and support, including software updates or patches, to existing Huawei handsets” that were available to the public on or before 16 May.
The Department of Commerce also said Huawei can purchase American-made goods to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets, though it still can’t buy American components to manufacture new products without license approvals.
Huawei has responded, reinforcing its position as a key player in Android and committing to supported devices that customers already have and those devices in stock – but it does raise a question mark over unreleased devices.
“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry,” a Huawei spokesperson said in a statement to Pocket-lint.
“Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those which have been sold or are still in stock globally. We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”
As Huawei is gearing up for the launch of 5G devices, the move will serve to undermine consumer confidence in the company and could stall the smartphone business outside China – meaning that new devices can’t then launch with the services that customers want. Huawei has had great momentum in smartphone launches in recent years and is gearing up to launch new devices like the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G and the Huawei Mate X folding phone, so the Google ban comes at a critical time for the company.
The stand-off between China and the US has heightened over the past few weeks, not only in terms of trade between the two nations, but underlining the security implications of Huawei in a wider context.
While those security concerns have mainly focused on Huawei’s position as a 5G infrastructure provider, this latest move strikes the other side of the business, but it’s not entirely clear how this position will unfold. Huawei has long struggled with device launches in the US, with networks refusing to stock its phones.
Huawei was added to the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List on 15 May 2019; that list restricts the transfer of technology US technology to Huawei, with the BIS saying that: “Huawei is engaged in activities that are contrary to US national security or foreign policy interest.”
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