Google is suspending some business with Huawei, and this could impact the future of Android on smartphones made by the Chinese company and its sub-brand, Honor.
What has Google done?
According to Reuters, Google has suspended business that “requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services” with Huawei. In effect, Google has cancelled Huawei’s Android licence.
Google acted after the Donald Trump administration added Huawei to a trade blacklist that bars American companies from doing business with blacklisted companies without “explicit approval” from the government.
What happens to people who have Huawei phones?
Unless Huawei is taken off the “Entity List”, there is a good chance its phones will not be able to run Android’s proprietary services and apps like Gmail, YouTube, and Chrome in the future. While Android will continue to work for now, it is unclear what happens next — including whether existing Huawei phones will ever get an Android update again. Android has monthly security updates and yearly operating system updates.
Huawei can still use Android from the Android Open Source Project, but proprietary services cannot be accessed without a commercial licence from Google. Future Huawei phones may not come with Google and Android services.
What has Huawei said on the situation?
A spokesperson for the company said: “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 it did not confirm was whether existing Huawei phones would be updated to the next version of Android, and whether future phones would run the operating system.
Huawei phones also run EMUI, the company’s own OS, on top of Android. It comes its own unique user interface and personalised apps. This is a common approach in the Android world — companies often add their own user interface to Android, although the core Google services are part of all devices.
How strong is Huawei
In the first quarter of 2019, Huawei became the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer. According to numbers from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Huawei is ahead of Apple, behind only Samsung in the list of smartphone vendors. The company saw a year-over-year growth of 50.3% in the quarter, with 59.1 million units being shipped.