Huawei’s new smartphones are unable to ship with Google apps, and their old smartphones are possibly no longer receiving direct support from Google.
The general license that allowed Google to work with Huawei on maintaining current smartphones has expired. Technically speaking, that license was designed to help rural communities in the US whose networks relied on Huawei equipment, allowing time to acquire new equipment.
After more than a year, the Commerce Department has stopped giving Huawei temporary licenses to keep supporting customers. And it’s not great news if you are one of the thousands of users of the company’s phones.
Huawei Expired US License
Engadget has confirmed the news regarding Huawei’s expired US License and that the exceptions quietly expired on August 13th. This sad news makes it illegal for Google and other software developers to send updates to Huawei and all of its customers.
If you have a P30 Pro or another smartphone from a company with full Google services, you probably won’t get Android 11 anymore. Any other updates in the future will also be prohibited.
A Google spokesperson said in an interview that the temporary license was crucial for delivering Android updates through conventional means. Phones without Google services, especially those sold inside China, should still get updates as Huawei can use the open-source version of Android while delivering updates itself.
“We continue to work with Huawei, in compliance with government regulations, to provide security updates and updates to Google’s apps and services on existing devices, and we will continue to do so as long as it is permitted. To be clear: U.S. law currently allows Google to only work with Huawei on device models available to the public on or before May 16, 2019.” – Tristan Ostrowski, Android and Play Legal Director
The Importance of the License
The license was initially meant to help rural carriers phase out Chinese networking equipment over surveillance fears. With this, they could replace hardware gradually. However, it also gave Huawei’s consumer devices a short lease on life by keeping them secure and current.
Today, there’s no easy way to keep them updated. You might not have many alternatives but to replace your phone if you’re concerned about up-to-date software. But if you are okay with your Huawei phone, and don’t need an OS update or the like, then you might want to save that money for other essential things.
With Huawei’s new smartphones unable to ship with Google apps and their old smartphones possibly no longer receiving direct support from Google, it’s more important than ever for the company to build up its alternative app and development ecosystem.