Mobiles

It might be the end of Android updates for Huawei phones with Google services

Huawei Mate 30 Pro Huawei Logo

  • Huawei’s temporary license to do business with US companies has expired.
  • Because of this, older Android phones might not get any new Android updates.
  • Huawei says it’s monitoring the situation.

The temporary general license that allowed Huawei to conduct limited business with US firms lapsed on August 13 (h/t: The Washington Post).

The original purpose of the license was to give rural US telecom companies time to figure out alternatives to the Huawei infrastructure they were using. However, it also kept Google’s apps and services alive on Huawei phones that launched before the company was put on the US Entity List in May 2019. Moreover, the license allowed Google to provide Android software updates and security patches to older Huawei devices.

What does it mean for Huawei phone owners?

Not all Huawei phones should get affected by this latest development. Only those devices that still have Google Mobile Services (GMS) are in the line of fire. These phones, including last year’s Huawei P30 flagships, could stop getting Android OS or security updates going forward. Google apps will also not get updated on these older handsets if the temporary license remains suspended.

Meanwhile, Huawei phones released after the May 2019 trade ban came into effect won’t be affected. They use an open-source version of Android and receive updates directly from Huawei, not Google.

Related: The Huawei and US debacle: The story so far

A Huawei spokesperson told The Washington Post that the company is “monitoring the situation and assessing the potential impact.”

Google didn’t really comment on the future of Android updates for Huawei phones. A company spokesperson told The Post that it was the temporary license that allowed it to provide software updates to Huawei phones, hinting that without it, the updates could stop.

For now, Huawei smartphone owners who have access to Google services will have to stay in the dark until further notice from the company or the US Department of Commerce. The situation is bleak as the US has also cut Huawei’s access to global chipmakers and declared it a national security risk.

Also read: Can Huawei survive without its custom Kirin chips?

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