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Huawei customers worry: Will my phone work without Google?

Google won’t be allowed to work with Huawei on software bugs and other technical fixes for Google’s version of Android going forward. Instead, the Chinese company will have to do this on its own, using the open-source version of Android.

tech Updated: May 22, 2019 13:34 IST
Gerrit De Vynck
Gerrit De Vynck
Bloomberg
Huawei is prepared to sign European agreements guaranteeing its telecoms technology will not be used for espionage, Huawei Chief EU Representative Abraham Liu said.
Huawei is prepared to sign European agreements guaranteeing its telecoms technology will not be used for espionage, Huawei Chief EU Representative Abraham Liu said. (Bloomberg)
         

Millions of Huawei smartphone owners around the world are suddenly interested in the trade war between China and the US

A recent ban by US President Donald Trump means many US companies can’t work with the Chinese technology giant. On Monday, there was a 90-day reprieve. But after that, Huawei phones won’t get the same access to Google software updates as most other major handsets that use the US company’s Android operating system.

Huawei phones aren’t that popular in the US, but they are widely used almost everywhere else. For millions, the devices are cheap-but-quality alternatives to the $1,000 phones America’s hardware champion Apple Inc. peddles. Inside China, Huawei devices won’t be affected. But nearly half of these handsets are sold outside that country, according to Counterpoint Research.

‘I’m very worried. I’m the owner of a P30 Pro which I bought a month ago,’ Ania K from Poland wrote on Twitter. ‘I don’t know if I will have any updates any more. Many people are very worried about that too.’

A Google spokesman said the company will continue to provide software updates and security patches to existing Huawei models for the next 90 days.

‘While we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device,’ Google’s Android unit wrote on Twitter.

All Huawei phones developed and certified by Google before May 16 will still get access to Google’s Play app store and other pre-loaded apps and services from the internet giant. Updates from Google will continue because these are transactions between Google and end users, not Google and Huawei.

However, Google won’t be allowed to work with Huawei on software bugs and other technical fixes for Google’s version of Android going forward. Instead, the Chinese company will have to do this on its own, using the open-source version of Android.

ALSO READ: Huawei considers rivals to Google’s Android after US ban

For new Huawei phones beyond May 16, there will be no Google support because that would require a new transaction between Google and the Chinese company.

Huawei Technologies Co.’s marketing team was enacting a full-court press on social media on Tuesday, assuring customers their phones would continue to be safe and usable.

‘Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those which have been sold or still in stock globally,’ the company wrote on Twitter to fans in Nigeria.

ALSO READ: US temporarily eases restrictions on Huawei products

Some Huawei customers asked on social media if they could return their handsets. Others said they would stick with the company and encouraged it to keep fighting what they saw as an attack on a foreign company by President Trump.

“You can do it, Huawei. You didn’t come all the way to the top to get beaten for nothing,” Boon Leo, a Huawei user from Malaysia wrote on the company’s Facebook page.

Huawei is working on its own mobile operation system and will consider rivals to Google’s Android.

‘Not letting go of your phones so you better come up with your own softwares and OS.... Asap,’ wrote another user from Kenya on Twitter.

First Published: May 22, 2019 12:56 IST

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