Hot on the heels of the US government putting Huawei on a blacklist, Google stepped in and announced it is blocking Huawei’s access to Android updates for apps and security features.
This is a blow to the Chinese smartphone and telecoms tech manufacturer, and creates a problem for Huawei phone owners.
Google is following the government policy prohibiting US firms to do business with Huawei. As a result Google has been forced to restrict the company’s access to the Google Play Store, which means that in the future users won’t be able to gain access to popular titles, nor to speedy security updates to the Android OS. This means Huawei will no longer be able to offer access to crucial Google apps, and will be severely limited in how quickly it can give users access to the latest versions of Android.
If you’re a Huawei phone owner you must be wondering what to do next. Well, there is some good news. According to TechRadar the “US Commerce Department has temporarily lifted the ban on American businesses working with Huawei — allowing software updates to continue on Huawei phones.”
This temporary licence rolls back the US government’s restrictions and will allow Google to continue working with Huawei, allowing the Chinese brand to keep using Android in the same manner as before until 19th August.
This is good news for Huawei, because it gives it more time to “prepare for the launch of its next handsets and develop the Android Q update for its current smartphones,” TechRadar reports.
However, whilst Huawei has given the impression that it is relatively unperturbed by the US government and Google’s actions, it still leaves it in a vulnerable position in the marketplace without full access to the Android operating system.
But it also gives Huawei more time to argue the case for not being on the US government’s blacklist and prove that it is not a danger to national security. The USA is not the only country that believes Huawei’s products may play a role in Chinese espionage, particularly with regard to building 5G systems. Japan, Australia and New Zealand have also banned the use of Huawei products for 5G, and others may follow.
But while the debate continues, Huawei smartphone owners may need to consider whether to continue using its phones, or change to another company. Interestingly, on the day the news about Google and Huawei was published, I noticed Apple was running a new ad campaign. Coincidence? It seems unlikely.