Users will still have access to the Play Store, but they will not be able to update the operating system of their terminals, which poses a security problem.
Google’s decision to break with Huawei opens the question of what will happen to users of devices of the Chinese firm. Google has confirmed that users who currently own a Huawei device will still have access to the Play Store and can download all applications. But they can not update the Android operating system under which their terminals operate, which is a major security problem.
Huawei vs Google
Google has suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware and software products, except those covered by open source licenses, said Reuters on Sunday quoting a source close to the commercial dispute. The company explained Monday that current users of Huawei will be able to continue downloading apps on Google Play. “We are complying with the standard and analyzing the implications for the users of our services, Google Play and the security measures of Google Play Protect will continue to work on existing Huawei devices,” Google said in a statement. Huawei users can continue to use Google applications such as Gmail, Google Translate or Google Maps, but they will not be able to update the operating system, this is the program (software) that controls the mobile phone. that without it, it would not be possible to use the applications or functions of the smartphone.
“Product updates, and especially operating systems, do two things: incorporate new features and correct all errors that are detected,” says Juan Pablo Peñarrubia, president of the General Council of Professional Associations of Computer Engineering of Spain. Google’s veto “has important repercussions for a major supplier such as Huawei” that, in addition to mobile phones, manufactures products of all kinds-for example, tablets-that use the operating system.
Although the owner of the operating system is Google, Huawei could develop updates on its own. “Huawei could offer Android security updates when they are available as open source. But this forces you to wait a long time to have the update, “explain Google sources. In addition, according to Peñarrubia, “making an update on a product that is not yours is difficult”. Therefore, it emphasizes that the company will have to consider whether to develop its own system or use an existing one.
Google’s veto on Huawei will mainly affect users who purchase a Huawei terminal from now on, since in addition to not being able to update the operating system, they will not have access to the Google application store either.
Answer by Huawei
Huawei has announced on Monday that “continue to provide security updates to existing models of Huawei and Honor, as well as tablets, including those already sold and those in stock in the world.”
“We will continue to build an ecosystem of safe and sustainable programming to provide the best experience for our users,” the company said in a statement.
Huawei laments Google’s decision after highlighting its “substantial contributions” to the development and growth of Android in the world. “As one of Android’s key partners, we have worked closely with its platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited users and industry,” says the Chinese company.
The practical consequences of this boycott can affect millions of users around the world. Here we explain the main ones:
Goodbye to Android. If you own a Huawei or Honor phone (your second brand), it can continue to work perfectly. Google has ensured that it will continue to give access to the current security updates of the apps. Worse will be those who are going to buy a new model, since they will not have access to the new versions of Android. As with Windows on PCs, the Android operating system governs the entire phone, from apps to artificial intelligence or camera functions. So soon the mobiles of the Chinese brand will be obsolete compared to its competitors.
Can Huawei build its own operating system? Android is an operating system initially thought for mobile phones. It is possible to differentiate between two versions of Android: on the one hand, AOSP (Android Open Source Project), which is the open base available for everyone, and on the other, the Android that has Google services. The latter is the one that Huawei offered until now. But, if the Google veto is fulfilled, the Chinese firm will only have access to the AOSP code, so it should develop tools equivalent to those of Google on its own.
European operators such as Telefonica, Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom are reluctant to face extreme blocking measures
If Google’s veto is confirmed, Huawei will have no choice but to build its own operating system from scratch, as Chinese managers have already advanced in their first official response. However, while it launches, its sales would plummet in a market in which brands are renewed in a very short time as evidenced by the success of firms such as Xiaomi or Oppo, or the plummeting of the once almighty Nokia. Microsoft, with much more tradition than Huawei and with the absolute dominion of the operating systems for computers thanks to Windows, already tried in the past with its Windows Mobile and reaped the biggest of its failures.
And is that Google’s Android system accounts for 85% of the world market for operating systems and the rest is almost in the hands of Apple’s iOS.
And the Google Play Store apps? What will happen with the most used applications such as WhatsApp, YouTube or Google Maps? The new Huawei terminals, not having the latest version of Android would be without the new apps that are developed for the operating system. So they should convince the developers and their funders to spend their time and money making apps for the native operating system. Google Play will continue to offer applications to current terminal owners but we must remember that these are updated in parallel with the new versions of Android and iOS, and that there comes a time when developers stop updating them for the old versions. This is what has happened with WhatsApp, which can no longer be used, for example, in the versions of Nokia with Windows Mobile.
What’s wrong with Gmail? The new Huawei will not have Gmail either, the favorite email used by 1,500 million active users in the world. There are other alternatives, unlike Android, but they complicate the compatibility with many features of Gmail, without doubt the most advanced email system.
How many users will be affected? Huawei is the third largest mobile manufacturer in the world. The Chinese firm sold 203 million mobile phones in 2018, 34.8% more than in the previous year. Its global share is 13.4% compared to 20.9% of Samsung, which leads the ranking. Apple, in second place, only sold six million more iPhone than the Asian brand.
Can Huawei survive this blow? The Consumer division, which includes the sale of mobile phones, tablets, computers and other smart devices, recorded a turnover in 2018 of 348.9 billion yuan (46.2 billion euros), being the first time in the company’s history in the that this division exceeds in revenues the traditional business of telecommunications networks. The blow would be very hard for the electronic conglomerate.
What do the operators think? European operators such as Telefonica, Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom are reluctant to face the extreme blocking measures proposed and have shown their opposition to the veto for the deployment of 5G Huawei networks proposed by the US Administration. In the case of terminals, the impact is less because there are more manufacturers than networks.
And the processors? The veto of processor manufacturers affects less than Google’s because Huawei has its own line of processors (Kirin).
The 5G is also in the air. Huawei adds to the veto of the United States to its deployment of 5G networks, this blow to its terminals. Huawei 5G terminals still require third-party processors such as Qualcomm, and the measure would be a delay.
FACUA BELIEVES THAT USERS CAN CLAIM COMPENSATIONS
The consumer organization FACUA has indicated in a statement that if there are changes that would deprive Huawei users of access to security patches in the version of the Android operating system they have installed or to download and update applications through Google Play , Spanish and European legislation establishes a framework for the protection of their rights.
“If the affected equipment was within two years of guarantee, the loss of benefits would entail the right to claim financial compensation from the seller to whom it was purchased.” If it was more than two years after its purchase, there would also be a right to compensation. the existence of a possible breach of contract, “says the organization.
FACUA warns that, although Google and Huawei have hinted that users who own devices from the Chinese manufacturer or acquire those currently on the market will not suffer damages immediately, “it is unknown if they can install the next version of the system Android operative “.