Google dramatically severed ties with Huawei — heres what that means for you
Reuters reported Sunday that Google has severed ties with Huawei, essentially cutting it off from the Android operating system.
Following an executive order from President Trump, which effectively banned Huawei telecoms equipment from being sold in the US, the company was placed on an “entity list” by the US Commerce Department, meaning US companies — Google included — must obtain government permission before dealing with Huawei.
A Google spokeswoman told Business Insider that the company is “complying with the order and reviewing the implications.” Here’s a rundown of what that means for you if you own a Huawei device.
1. No more Android updates from Google
An anonymous source told Reuters that Huawei will immediately lose access to updates for the Android operating system — which all Huawei phones use.
While Huawei will still be able to access the freely available open-source version of Android, the same source said that Google will stop providing Huawei with “technical support and collaboration for Android and Google services.”
In a statement to Business Insider, a Huawei spokeswoman said the company will still be rolling out its own updates. “Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally,” she said.
Two months ago Huawei’s head of mobile Richard Yu told TechCrunch that the company had built its own version of Android for this exact situation. “If it turns out we can no longer use [Android], we will be ready and have our plan B,” said Yu.
2. New Huawei phones won’t have access to key Google services
Reuters reported that the next generation of Huawei phones outside of China will lose access to crucial Google-owned apps, including the Play Store and the Gmail app.
Reuters’ source also said that internally Google was still discussing the specifics of certain services. While they didn’t say which services those were, Google owns popular apps such as Google Maps and YouTube.
3. Existing Huawei users won’t suddenly lose access to services
In a statement on Twitter, Android said current Huawei owners need not worry about losing access to apps like the Play Store. “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,” it said.
As Google still seems to be grappling with the implication of the Trump administration’s ban, it’s possible there are more ripple effects yet to come. In its statement to Business Insider, Huawei was keen to emphasise that as the second-biggest smartphone seller in the world, its relationship with Android is not one-sided.
“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. 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,” a spokeswoman said.
4. Check-in with your network provider
News about Google’s has sparked confusion among Huawei users, many of whom have asked their network providers for advice on social media.
“From what we’ve heard so far, everything should work as normal and there’s no need to take any action at this stage,” Vodafone said on Twitter.
EE was asked by one user if they could return their Huawei phone. “Google has confirmed that services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device. We’ll continue to work closely with Google and Huawei to continue to provide any software updates,” EE responded.