What you need to know
- Google has pulled Huawei's Android license.
- The move comes after the US Commerce Department placed Huawei on the Entity List.
- This means future Huawei phones will be without the latest software versions and key Google services like the Play Store, Gmail, and YouTube.
- Intel, Qualcomm and other companies have also joined in on the freezing out of Huawei.
Update: There is a new development to the Huawei Android license debacle. According to Reuters, the US Commerce Department has created a new temporary general license "restoring Huawei's ability to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets."
Basically, Huawei will be able to push out software updates to current Huawei devices until August 19, which is when the license expires. This will serve as a buffer so that users with Huawei devices aren't affected by the licensing issue with notplan in place.
Now Huawei has at least three months to figure things out with the government and possibly avoid losing its businesses ties to US companies, most notably Google, the supplier of the Android operating system that powers its mobile phones. But that may rest on how far president Donald Trump is ready to take his trade war with China.
Until then, Huawei smartphone users can breathe easy knowing their phones will receive constant updates at least for the next three months.
Our original story:
Google has pulled Huawei's Android license as the escalating trade war between the US and China reaches the tech segment. First reported by Reuters, the move comes on the heels of Huawei being put on the "Entitiy List" by the US Commerce Department.
This move bars overseas companies from buying technology from US companies without the government's approval, something Huawei is not going to receive. Dating back to the beginning of last year, Huawei has been on the receiving end of heavy sections from the US government amid fears of possible spying from the Chinese government.
Eventually this climaxed with Huawei's pivot into the US market being cancelled as multiple carriers reneged on deals to offer its smartphones.
Huawei is now forced to use the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), but that will do little to help out the software experience. Without the proper license, Huawei is cut off from steady software upgrades, and more importantly, key Google services like the Play Store, Gmail, and YouTube.
According to Bloomberg and Nikkei, soon after Google's announcement, Intel, Qualcomm, Western Digital, Micron Technology and German chipmaker Infineon Technologies joined in on suspending their deals with Huawei. The Bloomberg report points out that Microsoft may be the next domino to fall, as it provides the Windows software for Huawei's laptops.
Huawei has responded to the ongoing turmoil. Here what it had to say:
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. 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. We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.
The Android Twitter account also delivered an update on the news.
Things look very dire for Huawei at the moment, but this may end up being much ado about nothing. The only way it'll seriously affect Huawei is if the issue ends up taking place over a prolonged period of time. Bloomberg report Huawei has stockpiled chips from Intel in the event something like this did happen in an effort to continue making products for at least three months without issue. This will give it time to assess the situation and better understand whether it is a permanent move or just a minor political one on the US government's part.
And most of Huawei's phones are up to date, which won't impact consumers right away as the Android response points out. However, things get murky when you start talking about future updates. At that point, Huawei will have to stop using Android entirely or risk cutting off its users from key services.
A lot of things need to happen before this truly impacts Huawei. However, if things do continue to go south, Huawei's smartphone business outside of China may be in serious trouble, with devices like the Mate X being seriously affected.