What should Huawei users take into account after Google's sanctions?

For Huawei users, the uncertainty will last until August, but they must be prepared for everything, even for a brand's own operating system

People walk past to Huawei retail store in Beijing

People walking in front of a Huawei retail store in Beijing, June 30, 2019 /AP Photo/Andy Wong

LatinAmerican Post | Sofía Carreño

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Leer en español: ¿Qué deben tener en cuenta los usuarios de Huawei tras las sanciones de Google?

Last month Google announced a closure in its relations with the Chinese company Huawei in the framework of the current trade war that is being fought between China and the US. This caused commotion among Huawei users, because these devices run the Android operating system, belonging to Google, which may compromise the use of apps such as Google Maps, Chrome, YouTube, and Gmail, among other applications that have become of daily use. Although the situation could change after the de-escalation of the trade war at the G20 summit in Japan, Huawei's situation is still not normalized.

According to Forbes magazine, "While these applications will not disappear from users' phones, Huawei owners may no longer be able to use (for much longer) Google Play services to receive updates." The magazine also warns that Chinese users, contrary to other users globally, should not worry about this situation, as they will not be affected, because in China Google's services are almost totally blocked anyway.

In response to Google's sanction, the US Department of Commerce issued a "temporary license" of 90 days (until August 19, 2019) for providers to continue working with Huawei while the problems are resolved. This means that Huawei phones will continue to receive application updates and security in the short term, but in the long term the situation is uncertain.

What does the temporary license entail?

According to the Pocket-lint portal, this license "allows Huawei to store some components and make alternative arrangements in other areas. It has also allowed Huawei to announce that it will bring Android Q to P30, P20 and Mate 20 (and more) as it probably has been able to use the additional time for Google to approve them."

Additionally, until August 19, Huawei can buy American-made products to maintain existing networks and provide software updates. However, the company can not buy American components to manufacture new products. Likewise, it should be noted that, according to a statement from Huawei, the license refers to devices that "have been sold or are still in stock worldwide", so that no product that is currently on sale would be affected by Google's sanction.

In summary, on the doubts about the updates of functions, the portal Pocket-lint provides a list of the devices that will obtain the update to Android Q in autumn:

• P30 Pro

• P30

• Mate 20

• Mate 20 Pro

• Porsche Design Mate 20 RS

• P30 lite

• P smart 2019

• P smart + 2019

• P smart Z

• Mate 20 X

• Mate 20 X (5G)

• P20 Pro

• P20

• Mate 10 Pro

• Porsche Design Mate 10

• Mate 10

Huawei has not kneeled down

It should be noted that a solution to this question lies in the possibility that Huawei develops its own operating system and its own applications, just as Apple does. Huawei CEO, Ren Zhengfei, said in an interview with French media Le Point that the operating system they develop, called HongMeng or Ark OS, would be faster than Apple's iOS or Android.

However, he also warned that the biggest challenge faced by Huawei has to do with applications for the devices, since reaching the variety of services found in Apple and Google stores has been almost impossible. Other brands that have tried to develop their own operating systems and application stores, such as Windows and Blackberry, have been forgotten and have had to resort to Android and Google Play Store to meet the demands of its users.

Also read: What is Apple's plan B for the Commercial War?

Zhengfei, who was previously known for remaining elusive and distant from public scrutiny, admits that he does not intend to surrender to the problems that the commercial war has brought on his company. "The United States is helping us in a big way by presenting us with these difficulties, and under the external pressure we have become more united than ever," Zhengfei told the Financial Times newspaper. "If we can not use American components, we have confidence in our ability to use components made in China and in other countries," he added.

However, users are advised to wait for what is defined after August 19 before investing in high-end Huawei phones.