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Huawei Android phones won’t see Google apps return any time soon

The ban on US companies dealing with Chinese mobile manufacturer Huawei has been extended until May 2021, scuppering the firm’s hopes of bringing Google apps back to its Android phones.

The order comes straight from the top, with President Donald Trump extending the ban on Google and other US firms offering its hardware/software tech to Huawei or ZTE (via Reuters). Trump first signed an executive order in May 2019 and has now extended it for a further year. As such the US government will continue to restrict Huawei’s efforts to use US-made tech without express permission.

Because Android is open source, Huawei still uses the bare-bones version of the operating system, but cannot access any of the Google Mobile Services apps such as Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube.

That’s been a major blow to the company, which has become one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in the world over the last few years. The ban stems from US suspicions that Huawei may be using its role as a telecommunications provider in order to perform espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.

Related: Huawei P30 Pro New Edition – What’s different?

Those accusations have never been proven, with many observers suspecting the company is being used as a bargaining chip in the broader trade dispute between the United States and China.

Although new phones like the Huawei P40 range are selling without Google apps, the company is finding ways around the US ban. Just yesterday it announced a second re-release of the Huawei P30 Pro smartphone, which is exempt from the ban. It still offers access to all of those Google apps so desired by Android users.

There are, of course, ways around the ban for Huawei users who have become adept at side-loading the APKs of the major apps onto their phones. It isn’t something Google recommends, but it works a treat if you can’t live without that Google Maps fix.

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