Google Pulls Huawei’s Android License – What Does It Mean?
May 21, 2019 Andrew Cheng

This is likely one of the biggest news the tech industry has ever seen: Google suspended its business with Huawei, which will greatly affect the Chinese company’s smartphone business. On top of that, Google isn’t the only one suspending business with Huawei – Qualcomm, Intel, and even Broadcom are doing the same.

Why are these companies doing so? Well, it’s in response to the US government’s decision to put Huawei in the “Entity List.” Companies in that list will be unable to buy technology from US companies without government approval.

So what does this mean to you? How will losing the Android license impact Huawei’s smartphone business moving forward? We will outline the most notable implications in this article.

You Can Still Use Google’s Services on Your Huawei Smartphones

If you are currently using a Huawei smartphone, you can still use your device as it is. You will still have access to the Google Play Store, YouTube, Gmail, and so on – it would be as if nothing happened. At least, that’s the case for the time being. And in case you’re wondering, this applies to Honor devices as well.

Naturally, app updates will not be affected either. These updates are delivered from the Google Play Store itself, so rest assured, you will still get proper support for the apps on your phone. If you don’t know about Google’s suspension, you wouldn’t even notice any changes.

However, you will definitely notice this next issue in the near future, which is..

No More Android Updates

That’s right, there will no more Android updates for current Huawei smartphones. According to Reuters, one of the most notable impacts of this suspension is the fact that Huawei “will immediately lose access to updates to Google’s Android operating system.”

Basically, whatever version of Android your Huawei phone is running now, you’ll have to live with it for the foreseeable future. Fortunately enough, the company reassured consumers that security updates will still be delivered to existing Huawei and Honor smartphones.

Upcoming Huawei Smartphones Will Be Greatly Affected

This goes without saying, of course. Now that Google is suspending business with Huawei, the company cannot make use of Google’s services on its upcoming smartphones. The Google Play Store is obviously one of the biggest omissions, and so are other indispensable features like Google Assistant.

These Google services practically define the Android experience, so not being able to integrate them into any future Huawei or Honor smartphone is a huge loss. While Huawei can still use the Android operating system itself, which falls under the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), it won’t be possible for the company to include any dedicated services from Google.

Granted, many Chinese phone makers are offering Android smartphones in China without Google’s services, but the Chinese market is very different from the rest of the world. The country practically have alternatives for every application we use everyday, which are not quite as popular outside of China.

What Are the Future Implications?

Even if you’re not a fan of Huawei smartphones, you should care about this suspension. Without a doubt Huawei is one of the biggest players in the Android landscape, and its absence from the market will leave quite a void in the smartphone industry. The Huawei Mate X? Probably won’t even see the light of day until something changes.

More importantly, when there are less competition in the market, other phone makers may not be as willing to push the envelope; to innovate in key areas that will ultimately benefit consumers. Take Huawei’s incredible improvement in smartphone photography. In order to make their own devices more appealing, other brands will attempt to outdo Huawei in this regard.

To lose that kind of competition in the smartphone market could very well mean a loss for us consumers too. Of course, it’s not that we won’t see innovation in the smartphone market anymore, but there may not be as big of an incentive with the absence of a big competitor like Huawei.

What Will Huawei Do Moving Forward?

Business has to go on, and it will be interesting to see exactly how Huawei will deal with this setback. The company has mentioned numerous times it has been developing its own operating system for this very scenario, but there are no concrete details yet on this proprietary software. Is it Android-based? Can it replicate the usability of Google’s services? And will it be compelling enough to consider over any other version of Android?

Only time will tell if Huawei can pull through out of this. It definitely has the resources to make the best of the situation, but without Google’s Android (and businesses with chipmakers like Qualcomm and Intel), the phone maker has an uphill battle ahead.

That is, unless Huawei is taken out of the US government’s Entity List. But what are the chances of that happening?