After Samsung, Huawei has the biggest share in the global smartphone market but it now faces a huge challenge after Google barred the Chinese giant from some updates to the Android operating system. As a result of the new restrictions introduced amid the bitterly fought US-China trade war, existing users of Huawei devices are unlikely to receive Android updates when Google introduces the next version of the operating system.
However, the existing users of Huwaei and Honor devices would be able to use the Google Play Store and security from “Google Play Protect” would keep functioning. “The ban will accelerate Huawei’s efforts to gain self-reliance. Huawei has been focused on developing its software and app assets along the lines that it has done with its chipset business,” Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CyberMedia Research (CMR), told IANS.
The Chinese technology giant earlier this year confirmed that it has developed its own proprietary operating systems (OS) and is ready to implement those in case its legal battle with the US leads to a ban on services like Android and Windows. But until it rolls out any such system, the Android restrictions are likely to hit its consumer business, according to experts.
“The Android bombshell has serious implications for Huawei mobile consumer business. While it won’t affect its China business, it will impact it globally,” Ram said. “About half of Huawei’s smartphone shipments last year went to users outside of China. That’s the portion that will be impacted if it no longer has access to Google Play and Google Mobile Services,” Bryan Ma, technology industry analyst at International Data Corporation (IDC), said in a tweet.
According to a report in The Telegraph on Monday, the ban means new Huawei phones will no longer be able to access certain apps, like Google Maps and YouTube, and existing phones will not be able to update their Android operating systems.
The restrictions come after the Donald Trump administration added Huawei to a list of companies that American firms cannot trade with unless they have a licence. It also means loss of Android licence for Huawei, forcing it to use the open source version of the operating system.
“Huawei has made substantial contributions to 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 benefited both users and the industry,” the company said. Huawei said it would continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering all the devices sold as well as in stock globally.