The Huawei Google Fallout and What It Means for the Brand
Following its placement in the US “Entity” blacklist, Huawei smartphones are now banned from using Android and Windows operating systems (OS) across its line-up. The impact of the Huawei Google fiasco affects not only the second top-selling smartphone brand in the world, but also its millions of users—most of which are concerned about what the restriction means for their devices.
Google Pulls Android from Huawei
In 2018, US intelligence agencies issued warnings against Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE over fears that China is using their equipment and devices to spy on American networks.
In May 2019, Huawei was placed under the US Commerce Department’s “Entity” list, a blacklist of companies who are considered threats to America’s security and foreign policy interests of the US. Among other restrictions, businesses included are banned from buying technology from the US without strict approval from the government.
Following the crackdown, Google ended Huawei’s Android license, dealing a huge blow to Huawei’s mobile operations. While Huawei phones purchased before the crackdown will still receive Android updates, new products will lose all access to the Google Play Store and other core Google apps like Chrome, Google Maps, and YouTube.
Huawei Loses More than Google
Google is not the only US company that has severed ties from Huawei. Microsoft’s online store has removed Huawei laptops from its devices.
Several major American semiconductor companies such as Intel, Qualcomm, Lattice, and Invidia have reportedly ceased activities with the brand. UK-based chip maker ARM has stopped supplying chips to Huawei, and numerous retailers, networks, and brands are starting to cut off ties with the Chinese company.
On top of this, the ban has spread to the global SD Association and the Wi-Fi Alliance. The UK’s Vodaphone has canceled its scheduled Huawei 5G rollout, while EE has pulled out the latest Huawei devices from its 5G line-up.
Huawei’s Next Steps
In response to the ban, Huawei has revealed that it’s been developing a “Plan B” for almost seven years in anticipation of this event.
Huawei was recently granted a trademark from China’s National Intellectual Property Administration for “Hongmeng,” its in-house OS. Hongmeng is expected to launch by the end of 2019 or early 2020. It will be used across Huawei’s smartphones, tablets, TVs, computers, smart wearable devices, cars, and more.
While Huawei continues to be positive about its growth, experts say that it would take a massive amount of investment for Huawei to attract developers for its app alternatives—and there’s no assurance that the alternative OS and apps will be able to keep users happy.
The Future for Huawei and Its Users
For now, Huawei phones purchased and shipped before the ban will continue to receive Google’s Android updates and after-sales services. After that, access to the Android OS and Google Play Store apps will be restricted for all Huawei devices until the foreseeable future.
It’s unclear how long the updates will last, given that numerous networks are already siding with the US decision to avoid sanctions. After all, the Huawei-Google ban raises interesting implications for the smartphone industry, including the development of a new mobile OS, which can pose a serious challenge to Android.