Existing Huawei phone owners can breathe easy just for a bit

Image Courtesy ABC News

The move comes after the Trump administration banned U.S. companies from selling their technology to Huawei, over spying concerns.

If you imagined Samsung having a PR panic attack over the Galaxy Fold fiasco last month, you can probably imagine how Huawei is taking all the recent news that has been gnawing at its image in the past days. Reuters today (May 19) reports that Google is suspending any business with Huawei that involves the transfer of hardware or software not covered by open-source licenses. In particular, it will not certify Huawei, and presumably, also Honor, phones which, in turn, means they won't have access to Google Play services.

It said: "For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices".

Hundreds of millions of smartphone users will be affected by Google's decision to sever its Android operating system ties with Chinese handset maker Huawei.

Huawei has repeatedly denied all allegations its equipment could be used for espionage and ties to its native government beyond paying taxes, but the United States and Australia have both banned its equipment from use in their respective forthcoming 5G networks.

In other words, while Huawei can still use Android itself, most proprietary services will be inaccessible - including the Google Play Store, Gmail, and presumably anything else that requires the closed-source Play Services Framework. Huawei's name wasn't explicitly mentioned, but it was obviously implied that China's biggest tech company is included on the list.

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Because of this ban, Huawei will be able to use only the public version of Android - Android Open Source Project (AOSP) - for its current and upcoming devices.

On Thursday, the U.S. Commerce Department added Huawei and 68 entities to an export blacklist that makes it almost impossible for the Chinese company to purchase goods made in the United States.

The suspension could hobble Huawei's smartphone business outside China as the tech giant will immediately lose access to updates to Google's Android operating system.

The extent to which Huawei will be hurt by the US government's blacklist is not yet known as its global supply chain assesses the impact. American chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Xilinx all announced they would stop selling components to Huawei, which are critical for the Chinese company to be able to make their smartphones and other products.

Huawei sold almost 203 million phones previous year, up from 150 million in 2017, according to data tracking firm Gartner, overtaking Apple to threaten Samsung atop the global charts.

A temporary general license, which was posted for public inspection, scales back restrictions imposed earlier by Washington on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's ability to buy USA goods as a means to help existing customers, according to Reuters.

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