Reuters on Sunday reported that Google has suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware and software products except those covered by open source licenses.
Google will also stop providing technical support and collaboration for Android and Google services, according to the report. The next version of Huawei smartphones outside of China will lose access to popular applications and services including the Google Play Store and Gmail app.
Huawei is now restricted to using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). That also means Huawei will only be able to push security updates for Android once they’re made available in AOSP.
Google on Monday condirmed the report, saying that its basic services will work on exosting Huawei smartphones.
"We assure you 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," said Google on Twitter.
For its part, Huawei said it would provide security updates and after-sales service for all smartphones and tablets sold under its Huawei and Honor brands.
"We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally," said the statement.
Huawei is said to have been preparing its own operating systems in the event of being banned from using Android and even Windows.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei had told reporters on Saturday that "we have already been preparing for this. It is expected that Huawei's growth may slow, but only slightly. Policies that threaten trading partners one after another rob companies of risk-taking attitudes and the U.S. will lose credibility."
The Google news means that Huawei will be cut off from Android updates, and, that "the next version of its smartphones outside of China will also lose access to popular applications and services including the Google Play Store, Google Maps and Gmail app."
"The U.S. is resorting to the same measures of restrictive state controls and trade barriers that it accuses China of using in their trade war," Huawei Tweeted.
On Wednesday, the U.S President Trump signed an executive order and soon the U.S. Commerce Department said that Huawei and 70 of its affiliates would be added to the 'Entity List', shutting off the company's access to U.S. suppliers without U.S. government approval. This was softened slightly, to enable the maintenance of equipment with existing customers.
Huawei has placed a huge bet on its smartphone sales. Last year the company overtook Apple to take the market's number two spot, and it now has its eye on Samsung's crown. The Google suspension will likely hit those ambitions hard.
Meanwhile, U.S. chipmakers including Intel., Qualcomm, Xilinx and Broadcom have also told their employees they will not supply Huawei till further notice, according to reports. Intel is the main supplier of server chips to the Chinese company, Qualcomm provides it with processors and modems for many of its smartphones, Xilinx sells programmable chips used in networking and Broadcom is a supplier of switching chips.
Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG has also halted shipments to the Chinese company in the wake of the U.S. ban.
Huawei is said to have stockpiled enough chips and other vital components to keep its business running for at least three months.
What do all these mean to the end-user?
It seems that Huawei will be able to use only the public version of Android – Android Open Source Project (AOSP) – for its current and upcoming devices. So you won’t receive a platform update, for instance, Android’s upcoming version, Q. But, if you already own a Huawei phone, it will keep on working with the current version of the OS. Google has said that Google Play Services and the app store itself will continue to work on Huawei devices, so your existing phone should continue to operate as normal. If you were thinking of buying a new Huawei phone, meanwhile, you may opt to wait until more information is known.
Huawei has been working on a backup OS, and is already shipping a special version of Android in China, where Google services are banned. It’s unlikely, however, that the company’s sway outside of China would be enough to gain support for a new OS outside of the Android ecosystem.