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Google bans Huawei from using Android OS- What does it means for Huawei users

huawei banned by googleHuawei has been in news in the recent days because Google has put restriction on business ties with Huawei, the world’s No.2 Smartphone manufacturer. This could directly lead to growth of the market leader, Samsung. At first, Huawei was put on a trade blacklist by USA and then Google’s move to curtail access to it Android OS means that the Shenzhen based company won’t be able to run Google’s applications and services such as Gmail, Youtube and even the Google Play Store. Buyers outside China will think twice before buying Huawei phones. There are reports that around half of 208 million smartphones rolled out in 2018 by Huawei went to markets outside China. Google said it would restrict Huawei’s access to future updates of its Android operating software as well. But since Android is open-source, Huawei can still update Android itself, as source code is publicly available and can be accessed freely.

 

“The phones won’t be very useful any more without Google apps on them, and other apps will be unable to call on Google Play services.”

As far as overseas markets go, this move just turned Huawei’s upcoming phones into paperweights,” said Bryan Ma, vice-president of client devices research at IDC Asia-Pacific.

Reason for Huawei ban:

The United States Justice Department said that Huawei holds a security risk because it believes the company has close ties to the Chinese government, which the smartphone manufacturer has denied. U.S. officials have said Huawei could potentially tap into and monitor sensitive U.S. communications through its network technology. Over last few months, there were a lot of other countries that banned the use of Huawei’s networking equipment. But Huawei has denied any wrongdoings and still continues to maintain it’s innocence.

In January, Huawei reportedly said that it’ll become No.1 Smartphone brand leaving Samsung behind by 2020. But in January itself, US hammered Huawei with 23 indictments for alleged trade theft and fraud. There are also news that FBI raided a Huawei facility in February in USA. Later on Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei told BBC that there’s no way US can crush Huawei. In December 2018, Canadian authorities had arrested Meng Wanzhou (daughter of founder of Huawei), also the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Huawei and extradited her to the United States. There were several other countries that raised concerns over Huawei’s devices including India, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Great Britain.

Effect on Existing Huawei Smartphone Users:

The existing users, most probably, won’t face problems in downloading Apps from Play Store or using Services as their phones have already been certified under processes known as the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) and the Vendor Test Suite (VTS). So, Google has to provide them with new versions of its products and authorize downloads from its Play marketplace, without having to directly deal with Huawei itself.

But, there would surely be problems related to security updates on these handsets.The way these work is that Google gives Android device-makers the code for its software fixes about one month before it reveals details to the public about the vulnerabilities involved. This gives these manufactures time to check these patches to make sure these do not cause any problem for their own software and then the manufacturer rolls out the fixes as downloads. But because of this Google-Huawei conflict, Huawei will now get to know about these patches on the same day that they’ll be released meaning there’ll be a lag before Huawei can distribute these patches/security updates to users. This would result in a serious flaw where Huawei’s devices will be exposed for several days or weeks.

For the China based users though, it won’t create a problem as Chinese users are already blocked from accessing most of Google Services. For new Huawei phone users outside China, this will be a big jolt as they won’t be able to use Google-Services but they can download third party apps using alternative stores or a process known as side-loading.

 

To conclude, there are news that several other countries might also ban Huawei Smartphones. Xiaomi also seems to gain from this conflict. They have started working on 5G handsets which were firstly going to be launched by Huawei.

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