Google Drops Huawei: No More Android Support for Mobile Users
The news comes less than a week after the U.S Commerce Department added Huawei Technologies to a government trade blacklist, citing fears the company could ‘undermine US national security or foreign policy interests’.
On Sunday, Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, announced it would no longer be sharing hardware or software with the Chinese firm. As reported in Reuters, a source from Google said:
“Huawei will only be able to use the public version of Android and will not be able to get access to proprietary apps and services from Google.”
That leaves Huawei with the option of utilizing the publicly available open source version of Android. But without access to official updates, the long term benefits of such a move seem scant.
Huawei appeared to anticipate such an eventuality and has started building its own mobile operating system, as its consumer device chief told German media earlier this year. The firm’s phones already use Huawei’s own self-built processing units.
The founder and chief executive of Huawei Technologies, Ren Zhengfei, attempted to pour cold water on the impact of Washington’s decision. He said the restrictions may result in 20% less profit than predicted in the coming year, but added:
“It is expected that Huawei’s growth may slow, but only slightly.”
Washington’s Decision Has Global Consequences
The Trump administration has made no bones about going after Huawei in recent times. American officials have long urged other nations to follow its hardline stance on the firm, which Washington regards as a threat to U.S security.
The American market for Huawei phones has been all but closed off – however, the firm’s impact in the European market will also be greatly affected. Huawei also licensed Google technology for the sale of its phones in Europe. Now, the domestic market will have to be Huawei’s priority in the short term.
All of this comes at a time when Huawei’s finance chief still languishes in a Canadian jail cell awaiting extradition to the U.S. Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian police in December 2018, and America’s neighbours to the north recently agreed on extradition proceedings for the Huawei chief. Wanzhou’s lawyers continue to appeal against the extradition process in the courts.
The 5G Rollout at the Center of the Mess
A major factor in the U.S decision to blacklist Huawei concerned fears for the security of its imminent rollout of 5G technology. If, as expected, 5G becomes the prime medium of data communications for the modern world, then keeping China out of that particular loop seems a smart move.
However, not all of America’s allies are on board. British prime minister, Theresa May, recently gave Huawei the go-ahead to contribute to the U.K’s own rollout of 5G – a move U.S officials say could threaten the historic, special relationship between the two nations.
U.S state department assistant secretary, Robert Strayer, recently warned that if the United Kingdom continued to rely on an ‘untrusted vendor’ such as Huawei, the U.S might ‘have to reassess the ability for us to share information and be interconnected’.
The average consumer will now have to look elsewhere for a cheap alternative to the iPhone. Meanwhile, some have predicted that Google just created its own future competition, as Huawei will now have no choice but to build its own proprietary software and applications.