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Huawei's response to Google ban raises more questions than answers

HUAWEI says it'll still deliver security updates to existing devices, but its statement leaves plenty of unknowns.

Published onMay 20, 2019

huawei p30 pro vs huawei mate 20 pro side by side 18
  • HUAWEI says it will still provide security updates to existing devices in the wake of a U.S. trade ban.
  • Google cut off ties with HUAWEI as part of a U.S. government order, affecting updates and Google services.
  • The Chinese brand hasn’t addressed how the U.S. ban will affect upcoming devices.

Google made headlines yesterday when it reportedly cut business ties with Huawei as part of a U.S. government order.

The news means the Chinese manufacturer loses access to Android system updates, as well as Google services in future devices. HUAWEI has now issued a response to the matter, but it also leaves several questions unanswered at this time.

Read: HiSilicon — What you need to know about HUAWEI’s chip design unit

“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,” the company said in an emailed statement to Android Authority.

“We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally,” it added. Will this software ecosystem include HUAWEI’s plan B operating system that it’s been working on over the years? This is one of several unanswered questions in the wake of the statement.

What happens now?

The firm clearly seeks to assure current HUAWEI device owners that their phones are going to be fine for now. The sentiment was also echoed by an earlier Google tweet, confirming that Google Play services and Play Protect will still work on existing devices.

Intel, Qualcomm join Google in cutting off business with HUAWEI
The HUAWEI logo.

But HUAWEI’s statement also raises the question of how the company will be rolling out security patches without Google’s help. Manufacturers can indeed gain access to some security fixes via the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). This route might result in more complications for HUAWEI though, owing to the Google-backed certification process that’s required for updates.

The manufacturer’s statement doesn’t address the issue of Android version updates either. Will the firm leave existing devices on the same Android version until this issue is cleared up, or could it update to its own operating system and lose Google access?

HUAWEI also confirmed that its HONOR 20 launch event, set for May 21 in London, will proceed as planned. But the statement doesn’t clarify how upcoming phones like these will be affected by the ban.

NEXT: Intel, Qualcomm join Google in cutting off business with HUAWEI

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