Strict new restrictions on Huawei’s use of the Android mobile operating system could have severe knock-on effects for users of Google’s most popular apps − here’s where you stand.
Google has reportedly barred Huawei from all business transfers involving hardware, software and technical services, except for those publicly available as open source.
The BBC reports that existing Huawei devices will still be able to access Google apps like YouTube and Google Chrome, as they have already been certified under the Compatibility Test Suite and the Vendor Test Suite.
They’re also likely to be able to update to Android Q (the next iteration of Android) when it launches later in 2019, as it will also be open source — but we’re less sure about the following upgrade, Android R.
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More concerning is that upcoming Huawei phones, which haven’t received the certifications, will either have to run a completely new operating system, or only be able to access Android Open Source Project (AOSP), a restricted version of Android that doesn’t offer access to many of the apps Android users rely on on a daily basis.
The list of affected apps includes:
- Google Play Store
- Google Assistant
- Google Photos
- Google Maps
- Google Drive
- Google Duo
How many of these apps could you live without? A small silver lining is that some of them (such as YouTube) will still be accessible via a web browser.
Such tight restrictions will surely deliver a huge blow to Huawei’s ambitions, coming just one day before the launch of the Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro, and with flagships such as the Huawei Mate 30 on the horizon.
Huawei has released the following official response:
“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry.
“Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally.
“We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”