Yesterday it was reported that Google, along with a slew of chipmakers, would be suspending its business operations with Huawei.
In real world terms, it would mean that Huawei devices would no longer have access to Google-owned apps, the Google Play store or get Android OS and security updates – other than what is available through an open source license.
Huawei has now responded to the decision.
Earlier Monday, Reuters reported that Google will be suspending its business operations with Huawei. But for anyone currently in possession of a Huawei phone, there's no need to panic.Read more
This ban was the result of an executive order that prevents U.S. companies from purchasing telecommunications equipment from foreign companies that are deemed a national security risk.
The U.S. department of Commerce had already declared Huawei to be one of these countries several days before the order was signed.
Huawei finally responded to the ban and had this 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 benefited 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 have been sold or 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.”
This echoes similar statements from both Google and Android, who also confirmed continued support for current Huawei devices.
“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications. For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices,” said a Google spokesperson.
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.
— Android (@Android) May 20, 2019
While this statement doesn’t reveal anything regarding a potential plan to fight the ban, there are a few clues that point towards independence.
Huawei already has its own in-house chipset that it uses for its mobile devices – Kirin. It also has its own OS for its Watch GT smart watch series.
We may be at the start of the manufacturer gearing up for its devices to be completely separated from the Android ecosystem, much like Apple. And that sure will make things interesting.
Until then, Reuters has reported that the U.S. Commerce Department has loosened some of the restrictions.
It will now allow Huawei to buy goods from U.S. companies for the next ninety days for the sake of network maintenance and software updates for existing Huawei devices.
Although this is not a permanent decision, it seems to have been enacted to prevent network crashes and unhappy consumers.
Although the exemption can extend beyond ninety days, it remains to be seen whether that will happen.
Update: Huawei has now also locally released a response. This is from Jeremy Mitchell, Director of Corporate Affairs at Huawei Australia:
We want to assure Huawei customers in Australia that the US actions involving Google will not impact consumers with a Huawei smartphone or tablet or those that are planning to buy a Huawei device in the near future from an Australian retail outlet.
Consumers with Huawei devices will still receive security updates and be able to use Google apps. Huawei will continue to provide 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.
Australian consumers will be able to continue using Google services like Google Play and Gmail on their Huawei phones as they normally would.
Google Android updates will continue to be provided for Huawei EMUI and Google apps will not be affected.
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. We will continue to prioritize the development and use of the Android ecosystem.
Huawei will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.