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Huawei gets temporary relief: What happens next to the Google Android license?

There is some relief for Huawei Technologies as the US Commerce Department has temporarily delayed its ban till August 19: Here's what it means for Huawei, and its Google Android license

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Huawei has got a temporary relief on its US ban for 90 days: Here’s what it means for Huawei phones and their Android license. (Image source: Bloomberg)

There is some relief for Huawei Technologies as the US Commerce Department has temporarily delayed its ban order, which suspended US companies from conducting business with the Chinese technology major. The US government has put Huawei on the ‘Entity list’, and Google had cancelled its Android license for the company.

According to a new report on Reuters, the US Commerce department will allow “Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to purchase American-made goods in order to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets.” However, for any new products, the company is still prohibited from buying American parts and components without any license approvals.

The report quote US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross as saying, “In short, this license will allow operations to continue for existing Huawei mobile phone users and rural broadband networks.” The license in effect until August 19.

So what happens to existing Huawei phones with this temporary relief?

Neither Google nor Huawei have commented on the latest development, where the US government is providing some temporary relief. What the new development means is that Android license for Huawei will continue for another 90 days and not been revoked immediately, and thus updates, security releases will be available for this time period.

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Google had already said that while it was complying with the new US government order, that services like Google Play and security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on existing Huawei phones. It is not clear what happens after this temporary relief expires on August 19. It is also not clear if the existing Huawei phones will get Android Q.

Read more: Google is suspending Huawei’s Android license: What does it mean for Huawei phone users? 

What happens to new Huawei phones launching in 2019?

The key point to note here is that new Huawei products, especially new phones with Android might not be possible because the relief does not apply to them. The temporary reprieve is only for existing products.

It is likely that the new Honor 20 series, which has already got the license and launches today will be safe. However, the future of other Huawei phones like the new Mate 30 series, which would have launched later in 2019, remains unclear at this moment.

Will Google Android and Google apps not work on future Huawei phones?

Unless the US government and China sort out the trade war, it looks unlikely. Huawei is on the entity list, meaning that US companies cannot do business with the firm without explicit approval from the government, and that’s why the Android license was effectively cancelled for Huawei phones.

While Google will be able to provide Android security updates during the 90-day time frame for now, future Huawei phones might not run Android at all in the coming future, and Huawei itself has hinted about their own software.

Huawei will only be able use those bits of Android available in open source, and all proprietary services like Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, which require a license could stop working on the devices. For now Google says that the Play Store will continue to work on existing phones, which means users with Huawei phones will be able to update, run their apps. However, this could change in the future.

Will this US ban impact all Huawei phones in the world?

Yes, the impact of the US ban will be felt worldwide by all Huawei phones users. As pointed out, Google will have to cancel the Android license, and after the 90-day relief lifts, Android might stop working on Huawei phones.