Following the US Trade ban, Huawei lost access to Google’s services consequently losing their Android licence which they later got back after the US Commerce Department granted them a temporary reprieve for 90 days till August 19th. Things got better for Huawei as on this past Saturday, the US President, Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping called a ceasefire on the trade ban during the G20 summit in Osaka.
Here’s where the confusion starts
Donald Trump walked back the ban but didn’t specify the conditions that the Chinese tech giant will have to follow as it resumes business with American companies with the vague statement – US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei. We are talking about equipment where there’s no great national security problem with it.
Nobody is sure how the risk assessment included in this unclear statement is going to be carried out. Huawei is staying alert as it waits for official communication from the US Department of Commerce before it figures anything else.
Tim Danks, Huawei’s vice president of risk management and partner relations said that they’re waiting for guidance from the Department of Commerce(US) before going back to using Google’s Android mobile operating system on its future phones.
“We have nothing further to add at this time.” ~ Tim Danks
The confusion gets even more muddled following Larry Kudlow’s incoherent explanation saying that Huawei hasn’t received any general amnesty. Larry Kudlow, the National Economic Council chairman hinted that they’ll soon start issuing individual licences for generally available parts and components needed by the tech giant to stay in business.
This means that Huawei will be restricted from using the full version of Android that comes with essential Google services inuding the Play Store. Google has yet to comment on this recent development.
Worth noting is that Huawei will have to wait for clarification from the Commerce Department to see how this decision will affect their access to Android and other Google services and apps.
Meanwhile, Huawei has been running tests of their own OS – HongMeng/Ark OS and preliminary results reportedly say it performs 60% faster than Android. However, this doesn’t mean they have given up on Android. We’ve seen previews of Android Q-based EMUI 10 and they look pretty stable and impressive too seeing that it will go live in the next coming 3 or 4 months. The Huawei-customised Android skin is rumored to launch with the upcoming Mate 30.
Huawei has also been rolling updates to its current phones, updating them to Android Pie (over 80 million Huawei devices now run on Android Pie), rolling out EMUI 9.1 and planning to upgrade these 17 phones to Android Q when it officially rolls out.