The Google Huawei issues US government is limiting Huawei, which has major consequences for the Chinese company’s future plans. What does this mean for current and new Huawei smartphones, the rollout of 5G in the United States and more?
Google Huawei issues explained: what should I do now?
A stir in the mobile world: Google announced this weekend that it would break off contact with Huawei. Due to a decision by the US government, Google is no longer allowed to cooperate with the Chinese smartphone maker. Other Western companies also have to stop their cooperation with Huawei. This has consequences for many things, from new smartphones to 5G to world politics. This article explains what it means for you.
Can I still use my Huawei smartphone?
If you already have a Huawei smartphone, then nothing will change for you in the short term. Once a smartphone is certified by Google, all apps and services from the manufacturer continue to work on it. Even after Google has to break its ties with Huawei, you can still download apps from the Play Store or use apps like the Google Assistant, Chrome and Google Maps.
The functionality of the device is not changed. Google will not make smartphones unusable remotely, and the use of all apps and services will not be blocked either. There is also no indication that this is going to happen.
Will my Huawei smartphone get any updates?
Yes, all apps and app updates on Huawei smartphones remain available as before. After all, those updates can be downloaded via the Google Play Store. Both Google and Huawei assure users that nothing will change about this.
It becomes a little more difficult when it comes to security updates. Google releases these updates to all manufacturers on a monthly basis to protect users against all known vulnerabilities in Android. Manufacturers often receive those updates a few weeks before Google rolls them out so that they can be distributed to all smartphones as quickly as possible. If Google breaks the links, the company can no longer share those updates directly with Huawei.
However, Google is also releasing a version of these updates for the Android Open Source Project, an open version of Android that anyone can use and adapt – including Huawei. However, it only appears at the same time as the ‘definitive’ version of a security update. That means that Huawei can prepare the update for its own smartphones much later than before. The security updates will continue to appear, but a little later than you are used to.
It gets really tricky with the larger updates. This fall, Google will release Android 10.0 (Q), but whether that update will reach Huawei smartphones remains to be seen. Google needs to re-certify (or approve) a smartphone for every major Android update. If Huawei wants to release an Android Q update, the device has to go to Google again. No approval, therefore no Google apps. In the current situation, Huawei smartphones will no longer receive larger Android updates.
Is it wise to buy a Huawei smartphone now?
Are you about to buy the Huawei P Smart, or are you saving for the Huawei P30 Pro? Then you probably doubt whether that purchase is so wise at the moment. Understandable, because with a new smartphone you want to be sure of long-term support, and that is somewhat unclear now. Huawei and Google guarantee security updates, but whether you will get Android Q is uncertain.
That’s why it’s better not to buy Huawei smartphones right now unless you really don’t care about updates. Nothing is wrong with the hardware of the devices; for example, the P30 Pro still has a very good camera. But so much needs to be clarified, that we advise you to be patient for a few more weeks. Then we probably know a little more certain how future-proof existing Huawei smartphones are.
What about future Huawei smartphones?
Like every phone manufacturer, Huawei introduces new smartphones all year round. The successor of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is already looking forward to this. If the manufacturer follows the planning of previous years, the new device from the Mate series will be unveiled in October. However, if this blockage persists, the planning will be destroyed.
After all, Google has to approve every new Android phone with the Play Store. As long as Google and Huawei are not allowed to cooperate, that approval cannot be arranged either. Huawei is not allowed to release new Android smartphones with Google apps while this is running.
Huawei has indicated in the past that it is working on its own operating system for an emergency situation like this. However, it is unknown how far the development of this Android alternative is. Moreover, it is not immediately a better option for consumers. On Huawei’s own operating system you would not have access to Google apps or the Play Store, which means that you miss almost all important apps. This probably makes Huawei not popular among consumers, who are now used to certain apps.
Does Honor, the Huawei sub-brand, also have problems with this?
Honor is fully part of Huawei and is therefore in exactly the same situation. It is a sub-brand of Huawei that focuses on younger users. Smartphones from this brand, such as the Honor 20 Lite, offer the same hardware as Huawei for lower prices.
Although Honor sometimes presents itself independently, it is, in fact, nothing more than another name for Huawei. This means that updates are also somewhat uncertain for existing Honor smartphones, and the question is whether future smartphones will receive sufficient support.
What about the rollout of 5G in the United States?
Huawei not only makes smartphones but also network equipment. For example, Huawei together with KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile are responsible for the construction of almost the entire United States 4G network. Also for the rollout of 5G, most providers were planning to use Huawei. The T-Mobile and Huawei are expected to offer 5G in The Hague and other large cities from the end of this year, but those plans may now be at a lower level.
Rolling out a new mobile network throughout the country requires a great deal of planning and equipment. That is why providers cannot just exchange Huawei for another company. There is a chance that providers have been considering another partner for some time because the fuss around Huawei has of course been going on for over a year. For example, KPN recently announced that the 5G core network will be built with equipment from Ericsson and Nokia. However, antennas and some other components would still come from Huawei.
Google Huawei issues It is almost inevitable that this will delay the rollout of 5G in the United States. Providers have a fairly tight schedule, and this uncertainty will undoubtedly delay. As long as it is not clear which equipment Huawei can still produce and sell, providers will have to wait. With a bit of luck, we have 5G here from 2020, but if the blockade continues for a long time, we may have to wait longer here.
The providers themselves do not want to respond to the possible impact of the news on their 5G plans. They are probably waiting for further developments.
Why is the US government bothering Huawei?
Google Huawei issues Trump makes this decision because, according to him, Huawei cooperates with the Chinese government to spy on American companies. Huawei denies those accusations and for the time being there is no concrete evidence that the company is watching its customers. Some security companies have discovered so-called back doors in software and hardware from Huawei, but it is not clear whether they have been added deliberately. Almost all software has bugs that cause such back doors.
Huawei is also under fire in the United States. De Volkskrant claimed last week that the AIVD is investigating Huawei for tapping customer data from a United States provider. That message, too, has not yet been confirmed. Which provider is involved is still unknown.
How long does this take?
The Google Huawei issues US government announced on Tuesday that the blockade of Huawei will be postponed for three months. That means that Huawei can handle current affairs with Google and other companies until the end of August. Security updates will continue to appear as scheduled for the time being.
There is a chance that Trump and the government will repent before that time. Perhaps the Chinese government suddenly threatens with a ban on Apple, and America is weakening its threats. Perhaps Huawei can promise more openness and pay a fine and the decision will be reversed. If that happens quickly, then consumers will have little or no nuisance from this blockade. But the reputation damage has already been done: do users still trust Huawei?