If Huawei’s blacklisting by Trump for setting up 5G networks in the US wasn’t enough, the company now is in for more trouble as Alphabet Inc. has announced a suspension of its business ties with the Chinese firm. This will shut out Huawei from using any of Alphabet’s services related to hardware or software.
What that means is that Huawei phones in future can only make use of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for its future phones, which is the version of Android available to just about anyone. That again is just the basic Android offering and is devoid of exclusive Google services such as Google Play Store or the security features that Google Play Protect comes to offer.
These along with other stuff like YouTube require a company to have a business tie-up with Google. Huawei’s lacking access to such Google services will no doubt be a huge blow to its products anywhere in the world. Huawei will also be missing out on the critical Android security updates unless those are available via AOSP.
That said, all of Huawei’s existing products will remain unaffected with the current development, meaning users will be able to download apps from the Play Store and do things as usual with their devices. The phones will also be getting the requisite security updates as usual though that likely will be only for the foreseeable future.
It’s equally unlikely for the company to be included in Project Treble for getting early access to Android Q when the version becomes available. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro was listed among the few devices that were expected to have the next Android iteration earlier than the rest.
Google said they were only complying with the order, which likely refers to the decision by the US Commerce Department to place Huawei in the entity list. That would mean Huawei will first have to seek approval of the US government before it enters into any sort of tie-up with a US technology firm.
The latest ruling from the US also isn’t entirely unexpected for Huawei as the company said they were already bracing for something of this sort for years now. However, it isn’t known how the company will react to the development given its smartphone business is going to be impacted seriously without active Android support.
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In any case, this is unlikely to be for Huawei alone as every Chinese company dealing with Android, or for that matter, a technology from a US firm will already be huddling together to firm up ways to deal with a similar situation. The smartphone segment might witness a sea change in the wake of the US-China trade war. For a similar move by China to ban Apple devices could spell trouble for the American firm.