In case you were worried that Huawei’s lack of access to Google services might mean that the company’s smartphones wouldn’t be eligible for Apple and Google’s contact tracing app, you’d be wrong. Can’t have a huge swathe of people without invasive apps on their phones after all.
The Huawei handsets that will get the update are those that were launched before last year’s Google ban that saw the Chinese company’s devices lose access to Google-owned apps, the Google Play store, and Android OS and security updates, outside of what’s available through an open source license. It’s not clear if that will also extend to the Honor brand, or how far back support will go, but considering the app uses Bluetooth and relies on Bluetooth Low Energy chips to function, a ton of older smartphones won’t make the cut, so that’s good news at least.
Apple and Google’s opt-in app is being developed as governments in Australia and the U.K. work on their own, even more invasive tracking app. Both are positioning themselves as optional apps that you totally don’t have to use if you don’t want to, but with the general discussion around these measures being that they’ll lose their efficacy unless they’re widely adopted, it’s not unthinkable that they won’t remain as an opt-in app for long.
Exit strategies for lockdown have also stated that some restrictive social measures will be needed until a vaccine or treatment is produced, with Professor Chris Whitty saying he doesn’t foresee that happening before the end of the calendar year. So pushing for a mandatory app – whether it’s the government’s own, or the one from Google and Apple – will almost certainly be one of those measures.
This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.