Huawei losing access to Android updates, Google support, after Trump ban

It’s unclear whether devices already slated for Android Q will receive the update.

What you need to know

  • Huawei won’t receive access to Android updates
  • Future smartphones may not be certified for Google services like Gmail
  • Move comes after Huawei was added to U.S. trade blacklist following Trump executive order

Reuters reports that Google has put motions in place to stop working with Huawei on future Android updates and device certifications after an executive order and subsequent U.S. Commerce Department blacklist made it difficult for certain companies to pursue business with U.S. entities.

Google is merely complying with the trade blacklist, on which Huawei and 70 of its subsidiaries were placed last week. The ban was enacted when Huawei was placed on a so-called Entity List, which bars the company from purchasing equipment from U.S. companies without prior government approval, which the Commerce Department is unlikely to give in the near future. The Trump administration has accused Huawei of working with the Communist Party of China to undermine international networks by potentially installing backdoors in network equipment. No proof of such vulnerabilities has been made public.

Because of the trade ban, companies like Google, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA are not allowed to sell or make deals with companies on the Entity List; Huawei relies on Google for access to the closed portions of Android, as well as its Play Services suite, which must be approved for every phone a manufacturer releases. According to Reuters, Google won’t retroactively remove Play Services support for existing phones, but it will no longer provide software updates for them, and it won’t certify new phones. Huawei already released a list of phones to be updated to Android Q, but it’s unclear whether those devices will receive it once it’s released to the public.

Huawei isn’t barred from using Android’s open-source components, which are freely available to any organization so long as they abide by the licensing terms. Huawei uses Android’s open source libraries, also known as AOSP, to build EMUI’s core codebase as well as release updates to its phones in China, where Google services are not available.

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