Huawei Phones

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Jason

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Donald Trump’s blacklisting of Huawei in the escalating trade war between the US and China is now starting to cause significant issues for the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer.

Alongside US chip manufacturers, Google has been forced to comply with the US government’s ban on the supply of technologies to Huawei.

What has happened?

Google has ceased providing software and support to Huawei as part of Trump’s blacklisting of the company and affiliates.

What does that mean?

The Android used on smartphones and tablets is made of multiple layers of software. In the west, broadly speaking these software layers are stacked from top to bottom like this:
  • User interface, which is the part users interact with, called Emotion UI (EMUI) for Huawei or Magic UI for Honor.
  • Google services – Google Play and the various Google apps (Gmail etc).
  • Android operating system.
  • System software that controls the various bits of hardware of the phone.
Google has been forced to cut off Huawei from the Google services part of Android for new devices, which also includes earlier access to software updates.

Does that mean Huawei can no longer use Android at all?

No. The underlying Android operating system is open source, called the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), and can be used by anyone. AOSP is updated in step with Google’s version of Android, on which it is built.
But it does mean Huawei has to supply its own updates from AOSP to the version of Android running on its phones, rather than Google’s updates. This is what the company has to do for its smartphones sold in China, which do not have Google’s various services.

It also means all the new additions Google has steadily been making to Android via its Google Play Services framework will no longer be available to Huawei for its western phones.

Do I need to stop using my Huawei phone?

No. If you already have a Huawei smartphone, it will continue to operate as normal. “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,” Huawei said in a statement.

Will I lose access to Google?

No. Google, Google Assistant and the various Google apps will continue to operate on existing smartphones.

Will I no longer receive app updates?

No. App updates are delivered by Google Play in the west, and will continue to be so on existing smartphones. Google said:


Trump has effectively ruined them. By blacklisting them and listing them as an entity, Google has now locked them out of new android software and updates.
 
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Boozy

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Well I'm sticking with my Huawei, best phone I have ever had.

Google and Trump can stuff it.
 
David76

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Presumably this goes much wider than just Google though. Surely Microsoft are under the same obligation to cut ties, so does that mean that Windows won't be updated on Huawei devices?

This will undoubtedly hurt Huawei a lot in the short-term but you'd have to think that long-term the damage could reverse onto the US companies. I'd imagine its likely to force Chinese tech companies into creating their own OS / Software Services and thereby "copying" a lot of whats already been done by Google et al.

Seems like a big-footed move by Trump.
 
Some Random Guy

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Presumably this goes much wider than just Google though. Surely Microsoft are under the same obligation to cut ties, so does that mean that Windows won't be updated on Huawei devices?
Seems the chipmakers have followed suit.
Chipmakers including Intel Corp., Qualcomm Inc., Xilinx Inc. and Broadcom Inc. have told their employees they will not supply Huawei till further notice, according to people familiar with their actions. Alphabet Inc.’s Google cut off the supply of hardware and some software services to the Chinese giant, another person familiar said, asking not to be identified discussing private matters.
That has huge implications for their infrastructural gear as well as the mobile handsets
 
Major Tom

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We've got a mediapad m5 so I'm a little disappointed to hear this. I'll keep an eye on how things play out and if need be I'll install a custom rom.
 
Fraser

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Temporary deal in place

I think this will be resolved at some point as it's already costing US firms money.

Yet another not well thought out plan by the orange clown.

Don't know why they just don't strike a deal with Google Europe and be done with it.
 
Biscuit

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Whilst it doesn’t concern us as end users, the idea that Huawei should not be used for critical US infrastructure is not new. That was the bipartisan conclusion of the House Intelligence Committee in a very unfavorable report back in 2012. What’s different about it now, seven years later, is that Huawei is the leader in the next telecommunications technology and is, if not prohibited, going to become the provider of a critical US service.

It may be that Trump is using it as leverage in a trade war, but that does not deny that a security threat is possible and that those arguments remain just as valid if there is a trade war or not. Even yesterday, the issue came up with drones.

If you look at the various media reports conferring with security experts, they basically come split equally in about three categories.

One is “there is no threat or it is minimal”, one is “it’s possible, but would make no economic sense for Huawei to do it”, and one is “it’s a viable threat”. Of those, the second is irrelevant. If it comes to it, especially in event of conflict, the Chinese may well decide that the cost of economic lost opportunity is worth the advantage over the US that the risk of detection gives. The other two come down to a judgement call of risk/reward for the US. European governments have their concerns as well. When the EU decided in March to not ban Huawei, it was not “we have no concerns” but a judgement call in their opinion that the concerns did not justify the ban.

Historically, the US has made decisions which may well prove to be more expensive in order to retain its national security goals. This would be in keeping with that tradition. The bottom line for the US, if they conclude the Huawei is safe to provide the US’s telecoms infrastructure, what is the potential cost if they are wrong?
 
Sad Professor

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The Huawei issue has been doing the rounds in the UK for years and at one time they actually provided the UK government with the source code for all the stuff they were going to install, so it could be checked for backdoors etc

If that is still happening then I don't see the issue.
 
Zidane

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So to sum things up from relatively recent news...
US government got caught spying on its citizen
US government got caught spying on EU leaders
Largest TV manufacturer Vizio got caught spying on its customers
US mobile companies got caught spying and selling location data of its customers

Huawei I believe wasn't caught doing anything yet and if they did, wouldn't it make sense to fine them and ban their products? Instead of banning selling products to them in which case US and other companies would not lose as well?
 

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