Huawei smartphones may no longer immediately receive Android updates from Google. That is the result of a decision by the American government. Google is therefore forced to stop all support.
Update 2 (11.12 am): Huawei has also released a statement. The company indicates that it will continue to release security updates for all existing smartphones and tablets. This includes all phones that have been sold and are still being sold. For example, if you recently purchased a P30 Lite, you can expect security updates for the device. Devices from Honor, a sub-brand of Huawei, are also currently being supported with security patches. What about larger Android updates is unclear.
“We continue to work on a safe and future-proof ecosystem to offer our users the best experience worldwide,” said Huawei. With this, the company appears to be hinting at its own operating system, but nothing is said about this.
Update (Monday, May 20, 8.30 a.m.): Google has released the first statement via Android’s Twitter account. The company says it is busy complying with the new US government legislation, but it assures users of existing Huawei smartphones that various Google services will continue to function. The Play Store keeps working so you can continue to download apps and updates. The security of Google Play Protect also remains part of all current Huawei phones.
Yet much is still unclear. For example, we do not yet know whether existing Huawei devices will continue to receive Android updates and security patches. Huawei has not yet officially responded to the news.
“Google stops supporting Huawei smartphones”
Future Huawei smartphones no longer have access to services from Google, including the Play Store, reports Reuters news agency. Google intends to remove all ties with Huawei. That may mean that Huawei devices will soon be delivered without Google apps. Security updates and updates for Google apps may also stop for existing devices.
The news has not yet been confirmed by the two companies. Android Planet has contacted both Huawei and Google for a response but has not yet received it.
Why is Google doing this?
Google seems to be obliged to make this choice through new US government legislation. US President Trump blacklisted Huawei for trading partners last Thursday. As a result, Huawei is no longer allowed to do business with companies from the United States. If the letter of the law is followed, American companies may no longer provide hardware, software or other products to Huawei. If Google still releases updates for existing Huawei smartphones, the company goes against Trump’s decision.
Trump makes this decision because, according to him, Huawei cooperates with the Chinese government to spy on American companies. Huawei denies these allegations, and for the time being there is no concrete evidence that the company is watching its customers. 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.
What does this mean for future Huawei smartphones?
In theory, Huawei can still release Android smartphones, but they must be based on the ‘Android Open Source Project’ version of the software. It is freely available to everyone and is not in the hands of Google. However, this ‘AOSP’ version does not have access to the Google Play Store and all Google apps. Monthly security updates are also missing.
Huawei has therefore 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.
There are quite a lot of hooks on the release of their own operating system. This software does not have access to the Play Store. Even if the functionality from Huawei is the same, the new software still misses the millions of apps that are in the Play Store. WhatsApp, Google Maps and Pokémon GO, to name but a few, would probably not be available (directly) for the new operating system.
What does this mean for existing Huawei smartphones?
If you already have a Huawei smartphone, it is still very unclear what exactly will happen. Reuters claims that Google is now investigating how far Trump’s decision goes and what the consequences are. For owners of, for example, the Huawei P30 Pro or P Smart, an uncertain situation arises.
If Google is from now on no longer allowed to release software for Huawei smartphones, that means that no more updates may appear. This has far-reaching consequences. Huawei smartphones will no longer receive security updates, and can also whistle to an Android 10.0update later this year. It may even mean that there are no more updates for Google apps such as Maps and Chrome – causing hundreds of millions of users to miss new features and important security fixes. This situation has not yet been confirmed: the two companies may come up with an alternative solution.
The expectation is that Google will soon come out with its plans for Huawei. If the search company indeed decides to cancel the support for Huawei smartphones, Huawei will probably soon come up with its own response. With the Android Planet app, you stay up to date with the latest developments.