The company will immediately lose access to updates to Google’s Android operating system. Future versions of Huawei smartphones that run on Android will also lose access to popular services, including the Google Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube apps. New designs of Huawei smartphones are set to lose access to some Google apps.
Existing Huawei smart phones will continue to have access to Google-related apps, but future Huawei tablets and mobile handsets will not be certified by Google.
The move comes after US President Donald Trump added Huawei to a list of companies that US firms cannot trade with unless they have a licence, amid an escalating trade war between the two countries.
Google said it was “complying with the order and reviewing the implications”. “We will have to follow the demand by the US government. Existing Huawei users will be able to use the services and updates provided by Google,” a spokesperson from Google told the BBC.
In a May 20 statement it said it had made “substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry. Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products.”
Huawei has a strong global market share business links in 170 countries, including Myanmar. It has a 28pc share of the domestic smart phone market, making it the second-largest mobile phone provider in the country. In the first quarter of 2019, over 53 million Huawei phones were sold, according to the company.
When contacted by the Myanmar Times, Mr Bob Zhu, deputy general manager of Huawei Myanmar, said it was business as usual in the country and that the company’s operations in Myanmar have not been impacted by the move.
Industry watchers appeared skeptical though. “It’s a big problem. Huawei’s access to Google will pose problems for its Huawei smartphone users across the world, including Myanmar. There are a lot of useful Google apps. But it would be okay for Huwei if it already has an OS which is as good as Android,” said Ko Nay Tun Naing, an IT technician.
“As Huawei is a big company, they would have other plans to continue operating. For example, Samsung has its own Galaxy Store. If anything happens, they can still operate using the Galaxy Store. Huawei might have similar plans,” said Ko Wai Yan, an IT enthusiast.
“Huawei users will still be able to enjoy Google’s services, but their inaccessibility to Android OS updates is likely to create certain problems for the smart phones going forward. We will have to see if Huawei will be able to provide their own OS updates,” said Ei Maung, co-founder of Fairway Technology.
Although there have been rumours that Huawei would use its own OS, it will not be easy to develop and implement quickly and it can even more complicate the whole mobile phone production chain, he said.