Explained: No Android for Huawei phones? What you should know

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New Delhi | Published: May 20, 2019 2:50:13 PM

Huawei is facing one of the worst times after Google cut off the Android licence for the Chinese company's future smartphones

Google is tightening its clutches on one of its high-stakes smartphone partner Huawei. In a major blow to the Chinese phone maker, Google has cancelled its Android licence and any further business for smartphones and other products that use Android. The decision comes as an acquiescence to the purge of Chinese companies in the US following the Trump government’s order.

Reuters broke the news first, citing sources familiar with the development, that Android will be available to Huawei as a part of Android Open Source Project, or AOSP. This essentially means that Google apps such as YouTube, Chrome, and Gmail will not be bundled with the operating system on future Huawei phones. The existing Huawei users will, however, continue to receive support from Google.

According to the report, Huawei is the latest entry to what is being termed as the ‘Entity List’, managed by the US government, to put a suspension on trade between US companies and those outside the States unless an ‘explicit approval’ has been granted.

“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,” said the official account for Android in a tweet.

What does it mean for you?

If you are a Huawei or Honor smartphone user, you will continue to receive updates via the Google Play store to all the apps, including the ones that need licensing. The Google Play Protect will also work the way it has been.

That being said, the extent to which Huawei phones will be blocked by Android is not clear. The existing phones may someday stop receiving the official updates from Google, which could even delay the Android Q rollout that is slated to happen later this year. Huawei Mate 20 Pro is one of the eligible devices for Android Q Beta 3, which was released on the day of Google I/O this year.

This move is likely to hamper Huawei’s smartphone business outside China where it heavily relies on Google’s Android platform. However, the impact on the company’s operations in China is likely to be minimal. Many of the Google services are blocked in China, which has compelled the local and some foreign smartphone makers to develop their own ecosystem that comprises of substitute apps from Baidu and Tencent.

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