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Thursday, June 04, 2020

Huawei, Honor phones may not get access to Apple-Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing tool

Huawei phones without Google Services and apps will reportedly not receive the Contact Tracking System being developed by Apple and Google to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 22, 2020 12:28:28 pm
huawei contact tracing, contact tracing system, coronavirus, covid-19 tracing, huawei covid 19 tracing system Huawei phones will reportedly not support coronavirus contact tracing system. (Image: Bloomberg)

Google and Apple are working on a ‘contact tracing system’ to locate the spread of the coronavirus and help contain it. The new tool is supposed to available to Android and iOS phones via software updates soon but as per a report, Huawei phone users will be left out of this update.

The US ban on Huawei forced the Chinese smartphone maker to launch its new phones without Google apps and services. According to The Telegraph, users who have newer Huawei phones that come without Google services will not be able to use this contact tracing tool.

Huawei and Honor phones now rely on their own app store called App Gallery. While the report mentions that these new phones will not run the tool that is being developed by Apple and Google for a global rollout, there’s a chance that older Huawei phones that were sold before the US ban and run Google services will be able to make use of this system. However, there’s no confirmation over this.

How the contact tracing system works

The ‘contact tracing system’ uses Bluetooth LE (low energy) for proximity detection to identify people with whom a user comes in contact and keeps a record in the form of anonymous identifier beacons. If a person is positively diagnosed with COVID-19, their contact history could be extracted from their phone. With the consent of the user, the phone uploads the last 14 days of keys for their broadcast beacons to the cloud.

huawei contact tracing, contact tracing system, coronavirus, covid-19 tracing, huawei covid 19 tracing system Apple and Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing tool.

Other users who have been in contact with this person receive a message letting them know that they have been in contact with some who has tested positive for COVID-19. Users also receive a notification with information about what to do next.

huawei contact tracing, contact tracing system, coronavirus, covid-19 tracing, huawei covid 19 tracing system Apple and Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing tool.

Huawei is among the top three smartphone manufacturers in the world and the company had reportedly shipped more than 56 million smartphones by the fourth quarter of 2019. However, it is unclear how many of these devices had Google Mobile Services and apps installed.

Also read | Explained: The contact tracing technology Apple and Google are jointly developing

Hungama app to be available on Huawei App Gallery

Huawei’s App Gallery has just on-boarded Hungama as Honor and Huawei’s prime online streaming channel. This will enable the Hungama Music app for music streaming and Hungama Play app for video streaming on the Huawei and Honor phones. The newly developed Huawei App Gallery already has 400 million monthly active users and more than 1.3 million registered developers globally.

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