Huawei suffered a massive blow to its business, as Google has reportedly suspended most of its partnerships with the Chinese smartphone maker for its future products. Chip manufacturers have reportedly also followed suit, with Qualcomm and Intel being some of the largest companies to cease trading with the embattled Chinese company.
The United States Department of Commerce recently added Huawei to its â€śEntity List,â€ť prohibiting the company from acquiring parts and components from U.S. companies without the approval of the federal government, which filed criminal charges against the Chinese telecommunications giant in January. Officials told Reuters that the decision will make it difficult, if not impossible, for Huawei to sell some products due to its reliance on U.S. suppliers.
A few days later Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported that Google is cutting off most of its business with Huawei. The Chinese company will instantly lose access to updates for the Android mobile operating system, which powers its smartphones. In addition, future Huawei devices on Android will not be able to offer services such as the Google Play Store and apps such as Gmail, Chrome, and YouTube. Thankfully, existing Huawei devices with access to the Google Play Store, Play Protect, and other such apps will not have their access revoked, as confirmed in a tweet sent from the official Android Twitter account. However, itâ€™s rumored existing Huawei devices are now cut off from future Android updates, as updates may cause them to lose Play certification. This could make using the Huawei Mate 20 Pro in the Android Q beta a risky choice.
For Huawei users' questions regarding our steps to comply w/ the recent US government actions: We assure you while we are complying with all US gov't requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device.
— Android (@Android) May 20, 2019
Huawei will still be able to use the Android Open Source Project, the public version of Android, but without access to Googleâ€™s proprietary apps and services, staying on Android will not make much sense.
Honor, sister company to Huawei, has released this statement to Digital Trends. â€śHuawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Androidâ€™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 that have been sold and that are 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.â€ť
It was also announced late Sunday evening that several mobile hardware manufacturers are also complying with the U.S. government. A number of significant chipmakers, including Qualcomm and Intel, have supposedly told their employees that they will no longer be supplying Huawei. While Huawei creates its own processors for its smartphones, the company still requires hardware from other manufacturers. Huawei has been stockpiling chips in advance of such an outcome though, and according to Bloomberg, the company had built up a three-month stockpile ahead of the ban.
Huawei was said to be working on an alternate mobile operating system in a South China Morning Post report last year, as there were concerns that the company would lose its Android license from Google, though it may also be looking to reduce its reliance on other companies. The plan was dubbed as a â€śworst-case scenario,â€ť but it appears that Huawei may have no choice but to proceed with it in the near future.
The reportedly severed partnership between Huawei and Google is very unfortunate, as the Chinese manufacturer has been releasing top-notch smartphones such as the P30 Pro, the Mate 20, and the Mate 20 Pro, and although the phones are not officially for sale in the U.S., fans have been able to import the phones. The U.S. government has previously committed to similar actions against other Chinese companies, most notably in the ZTE ban last year. That ban was eventually lifted, which should give Huawei fans in the U.S. some hope, but itâ€™s no guarantee that this ban will play out in the same way.
Updated on May 20, 2019: Itâ€™s being reported that Intel, Qualcomm, and other key manufacturers are participating in the U.S. governmentâ€™s ban, and added Honorâ€™s statement.