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Huawei, Android
28 May 2019

Using Huawei smartphones without Google Apps

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Huawei can no longer trade with American business according to a United States ban. This means the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer, loses access to Google apps on Android.

This means that new Huawei phones will in the future, no longer enjoy Google Play Store, Gmail and other associated Google services on Android.

In the meantime, consumers who already use Huawei smartphones have a three-month window. This would allow them continue accessing these services and Google software updates to their devices.

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Being an open-source software, Android is available to anyone. This means the US ban has no effect on its base operating system. Only Google’s licensed services on Android are limited by the ban, to Huawei.

Huawei phones will continue to function normally without access to Google apps on Android.  However, it will lose its early access to Android updates. Once Android system updates have been made available to the Android Open Source Project (the base Android Operating System), Huawei will have to push these updates to its users itself.

The same applies to system security updates which will be pushed to Huawei phone users by the phone manufacturing giant.

Huawei phone users who may want to continue using Google apps, will have to download these apps on their own. Even at that, there is the possibility that some of the services may still remain unavailable to Huawei phones.

Third party apps like taxi services which rely on Google Maps may also cease to function on Huawei phones.

Other consumer products like laptops, tablets and smart wristwatches, produced by Huawei are also facing similar threats as other foreign business partners announce business restrictions with Huawei.

Japan’s Panasonic, British telecoms giant EE and British chip designer ARM Holdings, have also announced their intention to comply with the US restrictions.

In the case of EE, it is expected that the company would over time end the use of Huawei equipment in the core elements of its network infrastructure.

Huawei on its part has announced it is working on an alternative plan; its own operating system and an app store. The former is reportedly already in use on Huawei smart watches. It is unclear however when this new operating system would take off. However, the possibility of this new OS displacing Android outside of Europe, has been projected as slim.

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