2019 May 23
The US-China Trade War has reached new heights: Google’s recent ban on Huawei phones has left users confused as to it what it means for them.
A look back
Earlier this year, on January 4th 2019, US Senators produced a bi-partisan bill to address concerns relating to Chinese tech companies. Huawei’s close ties with the Chinese government arose suspicions that led to the US banning companies from using Chinese networking equipment owing to misgivings that Chinese tech companies may be spying on other countries and companies. Huawei was added to the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List on 15th May.
US President Donald Trump issued an executive order to ban the Chinese owned company from US networks. Google, an American multinational tech company, has now pulled out Huawei’s Android license but temporarily eased the restrictions for the next three months. Huawei has been given time until August 19th of this year to provide new software updates to present Huawei handsets.
But what does the ban mean for existing Huawei users?
All existing Huawei devices operate through Android- the base code on which the devices run on, known to many as an operating system (OS). In response to a query by TechRadar, Google stated that while they are currently assessing the implications of this ban, Google Play services and the security features that they entail will continue to be available to existing Huawei users.
In a statement made by the company, it was said that “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 benefited both users and the industry. Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.”
What happens to future Huawei phones?
The ban by Google means that the Android operating system will not be made available for Huawei models that are set to be released in the future. This means anything from the recent Huawei P30 range release, the upcoming Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, and previous devices are fine.
Considering that Huawei only recently spoke of its plans to become one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers, this news comes as a large setback for the company. Huawei, however, can use the Android Open Source Platform (AOSP) which is offered free-of-charge for brands to use as a base platform. However, the Open Source Platform does not have some of its more popular features like YouTube, Google Maps and Chrome.
Huawei has taken efforts to create their own version of Android and, as Huawei’s CEO of Consumer Business, Yu Chengdong stated, the alternative operating system may launch by the end of this year or in early 2020. But this move is no easy task, the company would have invest more in terms of incentivizing developers while satisfying users.
While the future of the Chinese tech giant may seem uncertain, space for negotiations with the US government may still be on the cards. The ban has brought the many implications of the industry to light but the recent events may also mean that the rise of a new challenger to the Android OS may also make headlines in the future.