China and the USA have been at loggerheads since 2017 as the world’s largest trade war is shaping up into an ugly battle between two of the world’s biggest economies. While this could have global implications and damage economies and trade worldwide, another domain that has been affected is the tech sector.
On 20th May, 2019, US President Donald Trump signed a bill that banned American telecommunication companies from installing foreign-made equipment (network equipment means 3G, 4G, 5G towers, radios, etc) that could pose a threat to national security. President Trump also put Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei into a blacklist for being the aforementioned threat to national security. This means that companies from the USA are no longer allowed to supply Huawei with either products or services without a permission from the government.
As an initial blow, Huawei will immediately lose access to Google’s Android operating system. This essentially means that Huawei phones (as well as Honor phones, since it is a sub-brand of Huawei) will no longer be able to use Google’s services like Gmail, YouTube, Google Play store and the entire Google Apps suite. This puts Huawei in a very tricky situation as they are left with 2 options, and neither looks like a promising situation.
The first option is that Huawei just ignores its current Android smartphones and does not push any updates at all, including security patches. This leaves the phone vulnerable to newer security threats. The second option for Huawei is to provide the latest updates and security patches. However, this would mean that current phones will lose access to Google services.
Huawei has officially responded that they will continue to provide security updates and services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphones and tablets. This leads me to believe that there will only be security updates and these phones will not receive any Android updates. So, if you own the latest Huawei P30 Pro, I have some bad news for you. Your phone may not receive Android Q and you might be stuck on Android P for as long as the trade war continues.
It is a sad day around for Huawei fans and tech enthusiasts all over the world as this ban could affect all of Huawei’s current as well as future products. Huawei is not just a phone manufacturer as it also makes laptops. These laptops run on Intel chips and Windows OS; both are from American companies. If these companies follow the Google route, Huawei could soon be out of business, unless they come up with an alternative to Windows as well as Android. And that seems a little out of reach, even for a giant like Huawei.
Huawei is the second-largest phone manufacturer in the world, and this blow could be the beginning of the end for the Chinese company. Only time will tell what the future holds. Maybe Washington and Beijing could come to a solution and end the trade war, which could lift the ban on Huawei. Maybe not. One thing is for certain: Huawei is walking on very thin ice and they have no control over their fate right now.