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Huawei loses its Google license – now what?

Over the weekend, US President Donald Trump continued the trade war with China and instituted a ban on US companies doing trade with Chinese-based companies, which has direct effects on smartphone giant Huawei – the number two smartphone manufacturer in the world. As a result of Trump’s executive order, Huawei will now lose its Android license and future devices may only – according to a Reuters report - use an open-source version of Android or Huawei may need to go ahead and get all Huawei owners on the company’s own OS, which it says has been in backup for a while now.  

There are some immediate consequences for current Huawei owners: Huawei devices will now no longer be getting critical security and software updates. Devices scheduled for an update to Android Pie (the latest stable release of Android) will now also no longer be able to upgrade outside of backdoor software updates and patching.

Future Huawei devices will lose access to proprietary Google apps, including YouTube, Gmail and Photos. Full implications of Huawei’s loss of access to Google Android is still being discussed internally.

Uptake on Huawei devices in Europe and Africa, along with its native Asia, has surged it to the number two position in terms of global sales. The loss of Android as an operating system could affect sales, as customers may not be as keen to take up a non-Android (or even non-iOS) device. Samsung has its own Tizen OS which appears on some of its entry-level devices. Selected Alcatel and MTN devices use a web-based OS called KaiOS. These operating systems do have some access to select apps including Facebook, Twitter and Google, but they are nowhere near as powerful as Android.

Huawei South Africa has released the following statement:

“Huawei will continue to provide security updates and 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,” Huawei said.

“We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”