News broke that American chip makers Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Xilinx had told staff they wouldn’t supply Huawei with parts “till further notice,” leaving the Chinese tech giant without potentially vital components.
This comes just a day after Google’s decision to suspend Android support for all Huawei phones. This has been part of a bigger trade war between China and the US, as both keep taxes and banning each other’s products. As a Huawei user myself, I got pretty anxious about this ban. Will my phone stop working? Will I not be able to update anything? Did I have to get a new phone now? So I decided to do a little research and share with fellow Huawei users how this ban affects us.
How will my Huawei phone be affected?
Besides the base Android operating system (known as the Android Open Source Project, or AOSP), Google licensed Huawei services such as the Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps and other Google apps. The ban means that Google won’t be able to license those services to new Huawei devices. However, Google has said that Google’s services will still function on existing Huawei devices.
Will my Huawei phone still work?
Luckily, Yes. Android is open source operating system. What that means for use users is that it is available to anyone to wants to use it. This means the base operating system isn’t affected. Only the licensed services are caught up in the ban. Google has said that the Play Store (the app store) and Google Play services will continue to work on your Huawei smartphone. However, new phones do are effected and will not have these services available to them.
Will Huawei phones still get updates?
Yes. Android system updates, once they’re made available to AOSP, will be available for Huawei phones. The difference is that Huawei will lose its early access to Android updates. Huawei will have to push these updates to its users itself and adapt them for its personalized user interface, which may take months to do. Security, on the other hand, is a bit confusing.
What about security updates?
Huawei is promising to maintain regular security updates, but they won’t come directly from Google. The way these typically work is that Google gives Android device-makers the code for its software fixes about one month before it reveals details to the public. This gives manufacturers like Huawei time to check that the patches do not cause problems for their own proprietary software, and then to package up a customized version of the fixes as a download. Huawei will now only learn of the patches on the same day they are released to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), meaning there will be a lag before it can distribute them. This basically means our software’s may be vulnerable for a while until these patches are fixed.
How are new Huawei phones affected?
Future phones will face a far bigger part of the brunt of this ban, as they will not be able use android or google features. Furthermore, with microchip manufacturers also following the ban, Huawei will need to make their own chips too. It doesn’t look good. Huawei has been preparing for such a move. Huawei is building its own operating system, and currently sells devices without Google Play Services in China where it is banned, but making a new OS – with its own apps – is a mammoth task. It may take months to make, and people may not be ready to wait so long.