News has surfaced over the past days or so of the partial lifting of the U.S. trade ban on Huawei—but things aren’t as straightforward as they seem. According to a White House official, the reversal of the ban only applies to general equipment and products that are widely available in the global market, while more sensitive equipment produced by American companies are still off-limits to Huawei.
However, it appears that there are even more complications here with regards to the partnership between future Huawei devices and Android, Google’s operating system for mobile devices. Yesterday, Mr. Bill Liu, Huawei Malaysia’s Country Director for Consumer Business, explained that Huawei will continue to support the Google Android ecosystem, with future devices expected to continue with Android.
The issue prior to this wasn’t access to (open-source) Android, however. It had more to do with access to continued Google support for Huawei devices on Android, including Google apps and services such as Gmail, YouTube, Play Store, and the like.
Right now, it seems that Huawei are still waiting for confirmation on Android. Reuters reported earlier that the U.S. Department of Commerce has yet provide any guidance on whether Huawei can continue to have Android OS on upcoming Huawei devices.
According to Tim Danks, Huawei’s VP of risk management and partner relations, Huawei is still awaiting waiting for a clarification from the U.S. authorities after President Donald Trump announced at the G20 summit in Osaka that U.S. companies will now be allowed to deal with the Chinese tech giants. However, the announcement came with a caveat—only goods that are globally available, and not “sensitive” equipment, was allowed to be sold.
“We acknowledge President Trump’s comments related to Huawei over the weekend and will wait for guidance from the Department of Commerce but have nothing further to add at this time,”
While the U.S. government hasn’t commented on the Android-on-Huawei issue explicitly since the G20 Summit announcement, a couple of factors do point to Huawei having Android on its future devices. If you include Trump’s statement in Osaka with the fact that Android would appear to fall within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s definition of globally-available goods, a calculated guess would be that we can expect to see future Huawei devices on Android.
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