An increasing number of American and Chinese companies are feeling the damaging effects of the US trade war with China as it escalates. The latest to join the list of companies who are suffering, which includes US soybean farmers and FMCG companies, is Chinese smartphone giant Huawei. A few months back the company’s CFO who also happens to be the CEO’s daughter was arrested in Canada on charges of conspiring to defraud global banks by working with a company in Iran, a country that is heavily sanctioned by the US already.
The latest problem to face the company is Google pulling their license for Huawei to use their Android OS in order to comply with new US sanctions. This is bad news for Huawei users and will affect sales. Does the ban mean Huawei phones will simply stop working?
All phones already in circulation will continue to function as they have before. There will be no rollback of features. Those same models and the most recently launched ones like the P30 and P30 pro that shipped Android 9.0 (Pie) will continue to receive updates for another 90 days but after that would stop receiving updates. This would mean that new security updates that are periodically rolled out by Google to make Android based devices more secure will not be available on Huawei phones. Additionally any bug fixes, also part of regular Android updates, will not be accessible to Huawei users.
The company also buys hardware from various American companies such as Intel, Qualcom and Nvidia. Although those companies have not severed ties with Huawei just yet, the company has reportedly built up a 3-month stockpile of hardware in case that happens. Huawei is less dependent on US for hardware as it manufactures a lot of its own processors etc.
But as far as the software is concerned Huawei will now be forced to use Android Open Source Project (AOSP), a barebones less stable Android operating system, cutting the company off from critical Google apps and services that consumers outside of China expect on Android devices. Therefore future phones like the upcoming Honor 20 that is part of Huawei’s cheaper sub-brand will not have access to apps like Google Playstore, Gmail and Youtube. Huawei will have to create substitutes for these apps in their future models.
Eventually all Huawei devices old, new and future releases will have an inferior Android OS running on it making it a less attractive product. The company has said that they have been preparing for such a ban for some time now and replacement to the Google Playstore is in the works.
Experts believe that in reply to the ban on Huawei, China may threat to halt assembling Apple products. Apple has outsourced all of its product assembly to China.
Huawei users who bought their devices before this ban will not suffer the full effects of this ban. Those looking to purchase Huawei phones in the future will still have a working phone but strictly speaking in software terms it will be an inferior product as compared to competitors. Therefore this would land in the medium territory on the BS meter.