Well, well, well, it was a long time coming but the Huawei Android ban has finally seen a potentially industry-changing consequence. The Huawei Mate 30 event revealed all about the future of Google and Huawei.
The Huawei Android ban has been a long and winding road. While the journey is far from over, Huawei has now hit its biggest roadblock.
After months of uncertainty about whether Huawei devices could continue to run Google services, the company finally released its first Google-less phone. Mind you, Huawei is still using Google’s Android open-source project for its EMUI10 software – but this isn’t disallowed by the sanctions.
Read our Hands on: Mate 30 Pro review
While the Huawei Mate 30 saga seems to have provided some conclusion to the ambiguity of the Huawei Android ban, the issue is far from over. Huawei is likely hard at work to get as many apps on its devices as possible and – in coordination with the Chinese government – reverse any sanctions.
So, there’s still a lot to dissect and we’ve created a handy guide to try and explain it all.
Related: Huawei Mate 30 Pro vs Huawei P30 Pro
Why is there a Huawei Android ban?
Google’s parent Alphabet announced it would suspend any business that “requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing,” with Huawei on Monday.
The move came after the US White House issued an “Executive Order on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain” on May 15. The order was part of the country’s ongoing tit-for-tat battle with China over trade. It followed widespread, currently unproven, claims Huawei tech was being used by the Chinese government for spying.
Google isn’t the only company to reportedly be cutting ties with Huawei following the order. Microsoft recently removed the company’s MateBook laptops from its store. Intel, ARM and Qualcomm have also been reportedly forced to instigate bans.
We’ve contacted Microsoft, ARM, Qualcomm and Intel about the blocks but hadn’t received replies at the time of publishing. We’ll update this article when we do.
What Google services won’t work under the Huawei Android ban?
After months of uncertainty about the answer to this question – with delays and changes to the ban putting off us getting any answers – the Huawei Mate 30 is the first phone to show us the ban’s implications.
The Huawei Mate 30 range no longer has any Google services – meaning the answer to our own questions is: All of them.
The absence of any Google services means Huawei can’t use Google Play Store. Google Play Store gives Android phones access to all of the apps commonly used by Android users.
Huawei Mate 30 users will now be required to either sideload apps intended to be downloaded via the Google Play Store or only acquire apps via Huawei’s own store.
Huawei has said it intended to invest $1 billion in its own Huawei Mobile Services and that 45,000 apps are already integrated with its app platform – so, the Chinese company is clearly taking the removal of Google services extremely seriously.
While we don’t know for certain, the situation for the Huawei Mate 30 now seems like it will be the norm for Huawei-made phones. However – as we’ve learnt with the Huawei Android ban – the situation could shift at any time depending on the US and China dispute.
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Which phones are affected by the Huawei Android ban?
Ahead of the Huawei Mate 30 event, it had already been confirmed that it would be the first phone to be truly affected by the ban. A Google spokesperson confirmed the Mate 30 range will not be able to be sold with licensed Google apps in accordance with the Huawei Android ban.
The Huawei Mate 30 event revealed the phone could not use Google services along with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro.
At the moment, the Huawei Android ban does not affect Huawei phones released before the Huawei Mate 30. These phones all currently still have access to all Google services.
Does the Huawei Android ban include Honor?
The Android ban also applies to phones from Huawei’s subsidiary brand Honor. At the time of publishing its newly unveiled Honor 20 Pro did still have access to Google services.
What does the US government say about the Huawei Android ban?
US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross gave a speech explaining the department will issue licenses “where there is no threat to US national security”. This is far from a full rollback, however. Ross clarified: “Huawei itself remains on the Entity List, and the announcement does not change the scope of items requiring licenses”. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was also back to let us know the easing of requirements allowing for “safe” Huawei products to be purchased was only “for a limited period” — leaving the door open for the US to change its mind whenever it likes.
The “limited period” remark is extremely frustrating with regards to clarity for consumers. While Huawei phones currently receive Android updates, it remains hard to recommend the purchase of one when the US can have such a large impact on Google’s business with Huawei on a whim.
After a few months without any meaningful actions taken on the Huawei Android ban, things kicked into high gear as we hurtle towards the end of the 90-day extension given to Huawei. The extension allows Huawei phones to continue to receive Google/Android updates.
The 90-day extension now looks like it could be extended by – well – 90-days. However – in what feels like a not so fast moment – Trump barged in to contradict his own officials on the potential extension.
According to the FT, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow stated the new extension was a gesture of “good faith” and a move to aid “American companies who need a couple of more months to make adjustments.”
No less than two days after Kudlow made these comments, President Trump said: “At this moment it looks much more like we’re not going to do business … I don’t want to do business at all because it is a national security threat.” Trump did say there could be exemptions for Huawei but it would be “very complicated” – as if the situation wasn’t muddled enough already.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has now popped up again to confirm the new 90-day extension is now in place. The second 90-day extension will end on the 19th of November. Ross cited one of the reasons for the extension: “Some of the rural companies are dependent on Huawei, so we’re giving them a little more time to wean themselves off.”
Wilbur Ross also announced another 46 Huawei subsidiaries had been added to the ban list – a move which Ross declared was the actual “big news” today.
What does the UK government say about the Huawei Android ban?
The United Kingdom’s response to the Huawei Android ban can be described as wishy-washy. Huawei has played a large role in the UK’s development of new network infrastructure and this seems to have left the government in a bit of a pickle.
When the UK government were set to make a decision, they chose to delay. Digital minister Jeremy Wright said Parliament would watch closely how the Huawei Android ban situation develops along with US and China relations. Wright chose not to criticise Huawei or – even – mention the security risks touted by the US government. The minister focused on the uncertainty that the ban places on doing business dealings with the Chinese company.
Wright’s statement and the UK government’s decision looks like it wasn’t enough for the US. US national security adviser John Bolton has stated he believes the UK will rethink any future role Huawei may have in the country’s telecoms infrastructure.
UK culture secretary Nicky Morgan has provided more clarity regarding when the country is expected to make a decision over Huawei’s involvement in 5G infrastructure.
On the BBC Radio Four Today programme, Morgan said: “I would hope that we could do something by the autumn, but we want to make the right decision and we’ve got to make sure that this is going to be a decision for the long term, making sure we keep all our networks secure … Huawei are not involved in the provision of government networks at the moment and that’s absolutely going to stay the same way, but we will look at all circumstances.”
When does the Huawei Android ban take effect?
The ban was originally meant to take effect on 16 May, but Google – and other US companies – were given a 90-day extension to do business with Huawei, while it “evaluates” the ramifications of the executive order. Another 90-day extension – which ends on the 19th of November – has now been announced. The recent comments from President Trump in which he stated he was still reluctant to do business with Huawei do not seem to have hampered the extension.
We’ll be updating this page as and when new information comes out. Make sure to bookmark it and check back with Trusted Reviews for all the latest information on the Huawei Android ban.