Should I stop using my Huawei phone? What the Google block actually means

Huawei has blown other phone makers out of the water in recent years with amazing phones that out-perform Samsung and Apple.

But the Chinese company has been hit hard in recent years as the US government has accused it of being a tool of the Chinese government.

Donald Trump has led the US to impose a ban on American companies doing business with Huawei which means Google has revoked its licence to use apps like Gmail or Google Maps.

Huawei, meanwhile, has continued to protest its innocence and has said in a statement that it will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products.

But if you’ve got a Huawei smartphone yourself, you’d well be forgiven for asking a few questions and wondering whether or not to keep hold of it.

The trade-in site musicMagpie says it has seen an increase in Huawei devices since the news of the Android ban emerged.

‘With recent news that Huawei’s use of Android is being restricted by Google, there has been a substantial 25% increase in the number of Huawei trade-ins at musicMagpie this morning compared with an average Monday morning at the tech site,’ the company told Metro.co.uk.

‘This shows that Huawei users are preparing for a potential device change in the event of further restrictions being put in place against the Chinese phone manufacturer.’

What does the ban mean?

Android, the operating system developed by Google and used by Huawei is, at its core, open-source. That means Huawei can continue to use it if it wishes.

However, it will no longer be allowed to pre-install what’s known as Google Mobile Services (GMS) which is the collection of Google applications that you typically see on each new Android device. It also won’t be able to add the Google Play Store automatically to its devices – which is usually the only place that most users get their apps and games from.

It also means that Huawei won’t be sent updates and security patches by Google. The company will have to respond to threats and issue new features to its users on its own.

What if I’ve already bought a Huawei phone?

If you already own a Huawei device then there’s no need to worry. Google has said it will continue to support existing Huawei devices with updates and support.

Where it gets a bit opaque is if you’re thinking of buying a Huawei device in the future. The company has accelerated its development of internal chips as well as software in an effort to stave off its reliance on US companies.

However, the fact remains that many users will want to have Google apps, like Calendar, Docs, Notes, YouTube etc on their phones. Without access to these natively, Huawei could be facing an uphill struggle outside of its native China.

Will I lose access to Google?

No, if you’ve already bought a Huawei phone, you’ll still have access to all of Google’s apps and the Google Assistant.

What does Huawei say?

As you might expect, Huawei has repeatedly denied these allegations from the US government.

It says it complies with all local laws in which it operates and does not hand over any kind of user data to the Chinese government.

The company’s Australian chief, John Lord, said it would be ‘completely illegal’ to hand over any kind of data to the Chinese authorities.

A statement on the company’s website reads: ‘With active and effective measures, Huawei has established a managerial system to deter and detect any acts of corruption.’

Another statement reads: ‘Taking on an open, transparent and sincere attitude, Huawei is willing to work with all governments, customers and partners through various channels to jointly cope with cyber security threats and challenges from cyber security.

‘Huawei will set up regional security certification centers if necessary. These certification centers will be made highly transparent to local governments and customers, and Huawei will allow its products to be inspected by people authorized by local governments to ensure the security of Huawei’s products and delivery service.’

In response to this latest news, the company says it will continue to support customers.


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