Google Restricts Huawei’s Use Of Android

Google has barred phone maker Huawei from some updates to the Android operating system, dealing a blow to the Chinese firm.

Huawei

New designs of Huawei smartphones will lose access to popular Google apps.

The move comes after the Trump administration added Huawei to a list of companies that American firms cannot trade with unless they have a licence.

In a statement, Google said it was “complying with the order and reviewing the implications”.

What does this mean for Huawei users?

Huawei will no longer get Google’s security updates and technical support, and any new devices will no longer have apps such as YouTube and Maps.

Existing Huawei smartphone users will be able to update apps and push through security fixes, as well as update Google Play services. But if Google releases a new version of Android, Huawei won’t be able to offer the update on its phones.

Huawei can still use the version of the Android operating system available through an open source licence.

Ben Wood, from the CCS Insight consultancy, said the move by Google would have “big implications for Huawei’s consumer business”

In his first comments since being placed on the list, Huawei chief executive Ren Zhengfei told Japanese media on Saturday: “We have already been preparing for this.”

Several countries have raised concerns that Huawei gear could be used by China for surveillance, allegations the company has vehemently denied.

Huawei has said its work does not pose any threats and that it is independent from the Chinese government.

Still, some countries have blocked telecoms companies from using Huawei products in 5G mobile networks.

Short-term damage for Huawei?

In the short term, this could be very damaging for Huawei in the West.

Its smartphones are already powered by its own proprietary processors, and earlier this year its consumer devices chief told German newspaper Die Welt that “we have prepared our own operating systems – that’s our plan B”.

Even so, this move could knock its ambition to overtake Samsung and become the bestselling smartphone brand in 2020 seriously off course.

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