Huawei Australia respond to Android license crisis

Credit: Huawei

Following on from yesterday's seismic announcement that Google would be revoking Huawei's Android license, the company's Australian division has issued a statement.

“We want to assure Huawei customers in Australia that the US actions involving Google will not impact consumers with a Huawei smartphone or tablet or those that are planning to buy a Huawei device in the near future from an Australian retail outlet," says Jeremy Mitchell, Director of Corporate Affairs for Huawei Australia.

Mitchell says that consumers with Huawei devices "will still receive security updates and be able to use Google apps."

"Huawei will continue to provide after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.

"Australian consumers will be able to continue using Google services like Google Play and Gmail on their Huawei phones as they normally would.  Google Android updates will continue to be provided for Huawei EMUI and Google apps will not be affected.

According to Mitchell, "Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry. We will continue to prioritize the development and use of the Android ecosystem.

"Huawei will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

Regardless, if you've recently bought a Huawei smartphone like the Mate 20 or P30 Pro, you should probably be concerned. And if you were looking to buy a P30 Pro, it might be worth holding off to see how this one plays out.

After all, the full consequences of this blacklisting are yet to be determined. Early reports suggest that, going forward, Huawei will only be able to deploy security updates for Android once they’re made available through the Android Open Source Program and won't be able to work with Google in any meaningful capacity.

Some suggest the new restrictions could affect everything from the availability and compatibility of apps like Gmail, Chrome and YouTube on future Huawei smartphones to the speed with which existing Huawei smartphones receive security and major firmware upgrades like Android Q. Whether that's true, or whether this latest row between Huawei and the US government will end up being handled in the same way that ZTE was, remains to be seen.

For those who need a reminder: the US Department of Commerce issued a ban preventing U.S. companies from providing exports to ZTE for seven years back in 2017. Much like the blacklisting of Huawei earlier this month, this severed ZTE's access to both hardware from companies like Qualcomm and software like Google's Android operating system.

In the aftermath of the ZTE trade ban, the Chinese tech company vowed to fight the government in court. Eventually, they paid the US a $1 billion fine to have the ban lifted. Though unlikely, it's not impossible to imagine this latest turn in the Huawei saga being resolved or reversed through a similar settlement.

In the meantime, Google say they "are complying with the order and reviewing the implications. For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”

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Tags GoogleAndroidHuaweiHuawei Australia

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Fergus Halliday
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