Huawei is among the most valued Chinese companies and one which has an empire fanning out in all directions. Besides claiming the number two spot in terms of Smartphone sales worldwide, Huawei is among the leading suppliers for telecommunication equipment and a driving force in the adoption of 5G. But for certain reasons, the company
Huawei is among the most valued Chinese companies and one which has an empire fanning out in all directions. Besides claiming the number two spot in terms of Smartphone sales worldwide, Huawei is among the leading suppliers for telecommunication equipment and a driving force in the adoption of 5G. But for certain reasons, the company has been under the gun sight of the Trump administration, which has repeatedly alleged that Huawei’s Smartphone’s and telecom equipment are potentially being used for espionage. Citing founder Ren Zhengfei’s previous association with the Chinese army, the U.S. government has barred government agencies as well as their private contractors from using any Huawei product, and also pursued allies to do the same.
With escalating diplomatic tension between the two countries, President Trump declared a national emergency and passed an executive order to restrict companies in the U.S. from supplying products to Huawei last week. While the Chinese giant claimed to have a decent stockpile of hardware goods and seemingly felt at ease even with these restrictions in place, a recent disclosure from Google puts Huawei’s prominence in the market at stake. As part of the blacklisting by the government, Google has removed Huawei from the Android partner program, suggesting that the latter will no longer have “access to proprietary apps and services from Google,” Reuters reported.
Google is currently “reviewing the implications” of the executive order from the White House, but for now, Huawei will reportedly be unable to install Google Play Service on the smartphones henceforth. The crackdown bars Huawei from applying for evaluation of devices under the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS), which any OEM must pass to be able to use the Android branding on its devices and provide services like the Google Play Store, YouTube, Google Search, Chrome, etc. out-of-the-box.
Users will not be able to just side-load APKs for these services because Google prohibits CTS-unverified devices from running its apps. Besides Google apps, all the others that use Google’s APIs, to facilitate log-in, for instance, will also be blocked on smartphones by Huawei and sub-brand Honor.
For the existing Huawei devices, Google has confirmed users will continue to be able to update apps through the Google Play Store. However, the blacklisting also prohibits Huawei and Honor from sending out newer updates to their smartphones, and if it does, it will be forced to remove Google Play Services and Google apps from the existing devices too.
For Huawei users’ questions regarding our steps to comply w/ the recent US government actions: We assure you while we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device.
As a result of this ban, Huawei will not have access to the code for monthly Google security patches before the public release. Furthermore, Huawei and Honor can no longer be a member of the Android beta programs starting with the next commercial release of Android i.e. Android R. If Huawei intends to move ahead with updates and brings users onboard the Android R bandwagon, it will have to wait until the public release which happens around August every year.
Fundamentally, the only way Huawei can now continue using Android onto its smartphones is building its own custom version of Android using AOSP (Android Open Source Project) code, exactly how developers of custom ROMs do. Unlike custom ROMs, however, Huawei might not be able to strap GApps along with the package without going unnoticed by Google.
All in all, the situation is really bad for Huawei. The only plausible options it has for now is to either finally start rolling out its own operating system that it has reportedly been working on, in the anticipation of the day when the U.S. finally obstructs its usage of Android. That might be a challenging shift since most Huawei users are habitual of Android and the Google ecosystem. But, so long as the operating system resembles Android in terms of experience and allows the installation of Google apps, it should be useful. However, we haven’t seen any previews yet, which means that it might not be ready for use just yet.
Alternatively, Huawei could continue to tinker with Android and use AOSP builds to continue providing EMUIupdates. However, in that case, it will not be able to support Google Play Services and other Google apps. This will limit the users to rely on Huawei’s AppGallery, which has a relatively smaller number of apps, even though that wouldn’t resolve the issue with Google apps.
Overall, the condition is really limiting for Huawei, essentially confining it to China, where Google’s services are already banned by law. This executive order crushes Huawei and Honor’s presence, not just in the U.S., but basically every market where devices are shipped with Google services pre-installed. Given that the U.S. government already has a strict view of the company, we do not expect any relief in the coming months. Earlier, Huawei had also shared its plans to sue the U.S. government but a favorable decision may take several months or even years.
For now, this step reeks of the upcoming death of another smartphone giant.