Huawei phones will get limited version of Android after US ban

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Trump administration lays down the law over spying concerns

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20 May 2019 | 0

Huawei’s battle with the Trump Administration has opened up a new front after Google was told to stop doing business with Chinese device vendor, starting with rescinding its licence to use the Android operating system.

Huawei has been criticised in recent months for being a threat to national security by facilitating international espionage. No specific threat was revealed to the public.

Under the order future generations of Huawei devices sold outside China will no longer have access to Google Services, the Play app store, and updates to Android such as the forthcoming Q operating system.

Huawei will be able to provide security updates to users and even has it’s own version of Android but the loss of access to the Play store would be incredibly damaging if the ban extends beyond the US.

The news comes on the eve of the launch of the Honour 20, a mid-market flagship using Android.

A terse statement from Google issued today read: “We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications. For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world,” said the company in a prepared statement. “As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry. 

Huawei is the second biggest seller of smartphones in the world behind only Samsung and ahead of Apple. Last May it reported a 50.3% increase in sales for the first quarter of 2019 – shipping 59.1 million units versus 39.2 million over the same period in 2018.

However, figures from Cheetah Data from 2018 showed ZTE, HTC and Lenovo-owned Motorola combined accounted for a mere 21% of the US market, much smaller than their average share of 39%.

According to research firm IDC, Huawei’s growth in the global mobile device market comes at a time of declining smartphone sales. The US market has been hit hardest, with sales down 15% in the first quarter.

A ban on Huawei hardware in the US seems like a next step and it is one that has met with some success.

Last year ZTE collapsed after a seven-year ban on US companies selling components proved too costly to bear. Huawei won’t be too concerned about meeting the same fate after reconfiguring its business to rely more on in-house components and Japanese suppliers.

One place Huawei will not be concerned about is its home market, where Google services like Play, Gmail, Drive, and Translate are already banned.

TechCentral Reporters

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