With the temporary license to use Google services expired with no prospect of obtaining a new extension, Huawei still promises to continue delivering security updates for existing devices. But things are not as clear as they seem, a significant contribution to Android security being made by Google Mobile Services (GMS) updates, and they can only come directly from Google.
Without a license to work with Google, it’s not clear under what conditions the distribution of updates for Google services preinstalled on devices and even access to the Play Store will take place.
Asked for clarification, Huawei representatives gave a statement meant to convey confidence: “We will continue to distribute software and security updates for our devices, as we have done so far.” However, the use of the phrase “we will” leaves room for interpretations regarding the situation of devices delivered with service packs that are not directly managed by Huawei.
Google has previously stated that it will continue to deliver updates as long as the US Government allows it. There is no indication from the company that it will continue to send updates, now that the temporary commercial license granted to Huawei has expired.
For now, the US shows no intention to relax the bans already imposed on Huawei. In contrast, the US Department of Commerce has just included another 38 Huawei affiliates on the already famous Entity List, blocking sales of essential components and semiconductors for the manufacture of mobile phones.
With cut off access to key service providers and mobile phone components, Huawei faces an almost impossible challenge of delivering new generations of competitive products to international markets without resorting to American technologies at all. If the hardware part could be “solved” in the end with the help of Chinese suppliers, on the software and services side things are not so good.
Huawei is expected to launch its first phone with Harmony OS, an operating system developed from scratch by the Chinese manufacturer. According to the company, Harmony OS will be able to run Android applications, installed from its own AppGallery store.
Juana loves to cover the tech and gaming industry, she always stays on the first row of CES conference and reports live from there.