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Huawei to continue Android support

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Huawei has been barred from Google updates to its Android system but says it will continue to provide security updates for its smartphones and tablets.

Huawei says it will continue to provide security updates and services for its smartphones and tablets after being barred from Google updates to its Android operating system.

But it did not say what would happen with phones it would sell in the future, which are unlikely to have access to Google's popular services including Gmail, YouTube and Chrome unless a special licence is obtained.

"Huawei will continue to provide security updates and 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," a Huawei spokesman said by email on Monday.

Google
Huawei has been barred from Google updates to its Android systsem.
AAP

"We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally," said Huawei, which is the world's second-biggest smartphone maker after Samsung and aspires to the top position.

Huawei's devices in its home market do not have Google apps, but the move will hugely damage the brand's appeal to consumers outside China.

Almost half of the 208 million phones Huawei shipped in 2018 went to outside mainland China, and Europe is the most important overseas market where its devices currently have 29 per cent market share, according to technology research firm IDC.

Google said it would enact restrictions on Android updates to Huawei after US President Donald Trump on Thursday added the Chinese company to a trade blacklist, making it extremely difficult for it to do business with US counterparts.

"We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications," a Google spokesman said.

A source told Reuters: "Huawei will only be able to use the public version of Android and will not be able to get access to proprietary apps and services from Google."

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, said its Google Play app store and the security protections from Google Play Protect would continue to function on existing Huawei devices.

Google restricts Huawei's use of Android

Alphabet's Google has suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing, in a blow to the Chinese technology company that the US government has sought to blacklist around the world.

Holders of current Huawei smartphones with Google apps, however, will continue to be able to use and download app updates.

"We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications," a Google spokesperson said.

View of a store of Chinese tech giant Huawei in Shanghai, China.
View of a store of Chinese tech giant Huawei in Shanghai, China.
AAP

The suspension could hobble Huawei's smartphone business outside China as the tech giant will immediately lose access to updates to Google's Android operating system.

Future versions of Huawei smartphones that run on Android will also lose access to popular services including the Google Play Store and Gmail and YouTube apps.

"Huawei will only be able to use the public version of Android and will not be able to get access to proprietary apps and services from Google," a source told Reuters.

Popular Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube and the Chrome browser that are available through Google's Play Store will disappear from future Huawei handsets as those services are not covered by the open source license and require a commercial agreement with Google.

But users of existing Huawei devices who have access to the Google Play Store will still be able to download app updates provided by Google.

Apps such as Gmail are updated through the store, unlike operating system updates which are typically handled by phone manufacturers and telecoms carriers, which the blacklist could affect.

The Trump administration on Thursday added Huawei Technologies to a trade blacklist, immediately enacting restrictions that will make it extremely difficult for the company to do business with US counterparts.

On Friday the US Commerce Department said it was considering scaling back restrictions on Huawei to "prevent the interruption of existing network operations and equipment." It was not immediately clear on Sunday whether Huawei's access to mobile software would be affected.

The extent to which Huawei will be hurt by the US government's blacklist is not yet known as its global supply chain assesses the impact. Chip experts have questioned Huawei's ability to continue to operate without US help.

The impact is expected to be minimal in the Chinese market. Most Google mobile apps are banned in China, where alternatives are offered by domestic competitors such as Tencent and Baidu.

Huawei has said it has spent the last few years preparing a contingency plan by developing its own technology in case it is blocked from using Android. Some of this technology is already being used in products sold in China.

Huawei's European business, its second-biggest market, could be hit as Huawei licenses these services from Google in Europe.

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