Google has cut off Huawei’s Android license following the US crackdown on Chinese tech companies, a huge blow for one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone brands.
According to Reuters, Google has suspended its relationship with Huawei, with a spokesman telling journalists “we are complying with the order and reviewing the implications”.
The US Commerce Department last week decided to place Huawei on its Entity List, a list of companies that cannot buy tech from firms based in the US without first applying for government approval.
The US government made that decision following a growing number of concerns over spying and security, with Trump’s administration banning Huawei from its 5G implementation.
“Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices,” the company said in a press release issued to Reuters.
Whilst the news may appear concerning on the face of things, Huawei phones will still be able to enjoy security features, but new features and updates may not be possible.
Google has effectively restricted the company to its Android Open Source Project (AOSP) scheme, which means any future security or product updates can only be pushed to users once they are made available on AOSP, and that can sometimes take weeks or months from release.
Huawei was unavailable for comment at the time of publication, but the company has strenuously denied the possibility of the Chinese government spying on equipment used in the United States – so much so that it’s prepared to sign a ‘no-spy’ agreement with countries like the United Kingdom to encourage businesses and governments to invest in its tech.
Google’s decision to withdraw support for Huawei devices is a major blow for the company, but Huawei was already preparing its own operating system to move away from Android.
Whether this would be available in the United States and other Western markets, however, remains to be seen, as Huawei-powered software would likely face more scrutiny than software powered by Google, making it difficult for the company to sell hardware in the US.
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