Huawei Loses and Regains Google and Android Access

IMAGE Wikimedia Commons

In the latest tit for tat in an escalating trade war between the China and the U.S., Google has blocked future phones of Chinese tech giant Huawei from using any of its products and services such as Gmail, Google Maps, and other apps in the Android operating system. Existing Huawei phones will still be able to access Google products and services and retain its Android OS, but will be barred from updating to the latest Android systems. 

U.S. President Donald Trump blacklisted Huawei in the U.S. effectively barring U.S. companies from selling their products to the Chinese tech company. According to The Nikkei business daily, Huawei sources $11 billion worth of components and software from U.S. companies, and another $67 billion from other suppliers, Google, in particular.

Google--considered one of the world's "Big Four" tech companies alongside Amazon, Apple, and Facebook--owns the Android system, the smartphone operating system that runs a majority of the world's smartphones. The company also owns YouTube, Chrome, Google Maps, Gmail, and Waze.

Temporary reprieve for Huawei

But backdoor diplomatic channels have secured a temporary reprieve for Huawei. The U.S. Commerce Department has issued a temporary license for Huawei so that it can continue to work with Google and other companies in the U.S. that are essential to its operations. The license is valid only until August 17, 2019, unless the U.S. government extends it. 

A similar move by the U.S. was made last year against ZTE, another Chinese tech company. ZTE was almost shut down when the same strategy prevented U.S. companies from selling their tech to the Chinese firm. President Trump had accused ZTE and Huawei of being state-sponsored espionage companies working to undermine the interests of the U.S. and its allies around the world.


Implications for Huawei and its users

With the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, prospects look dim for the Chinese tech company. The most obvious and significant consequence is Huawei's loss of access to the Android suite and all of Google's most crucial platforms that come with it. 

If the ban continues and Huawei loses its partnership with Google, existing Huawei phones may not be able to download security updates from Android, nor perform updates to the latest versions of Google apps such as YouTube and Waze. Future Huawei users may also not be able to access the Google Play Store. 

Alternative options for Huawei

Although Huawei's future smpartphones will be barred from using the Google products and services, it can still use the much limited open-access versions of the Android system, but would not be able to access essential Google apps such as Chrome and YouTube.

Huawei is Philippines' Top 4 smartphone

Huawei is one of the top smartphone brands in the Philippines. According to Stat Counter Global Stats, Huawei is the fourth most popular smartphone in the Philippines. In terms of mobile vendor market share in the Philippines, the Chinese tech giant controls 10.58 percent, putting it in fourth place behind Samsung (29.93 percent), Apple (16.61 percent), and Oppo (15.36 percent). Globally, it is the third largest smartphone brand, controlling 8.65 percent of global market share, behind Samsung's 30.99 percent and Apple's 22.94 percent.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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