Google has blocked Huawei, the world’s second biggest smartphone maker, from using aspects of its Android mobile operating system. In particular, the Alphabet-owned tech giant has suspended business that requires the transfer of hardware, software, and technical services.
Current Huawei handset owners will be able to continue using and download app updates, according to Reuters, which first reported the news. Meanwhile, Huawei will still be able to access elements of Android through what is publicly available via open source licensing.
Huawei has ambitions to continue expanding its business outside of China. And, though it has many roadblocks from international governments, it has managed to leapfrog Apple in terms of smartphone sales. Google’s decision throws a spanner in the works of this progress as future versions of Huawei’s Android smartphones will no longer have access to apps such as Google Play, Gmail, and YouTube.
Last week, the US government added Huawei to a trade blacklist, putting restrictions in place that make it difficult for it to engage in business with US companies. However, the US Commerce Department followed this up by saying it was considering removing some of these restrictions, so that current services are not affected.
On the back of Huawei’s blacklisting, chipmakers – including Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Broadcom – told employees they would not be supplying Huawei with key software and components until further notice.
Huawei has long been aware of the possibility that Google may decided to bar it from using Android and, as such, has been developing its own technology – which is already in use in some products in China, where most Google apps are blocked anyway.
In a statement, Huawei said:
"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."