In the past year and a half, US authorities and the Chinese company known as Huawei are not on great terms. The controversy escalated when Huawei’s Android license was revoked. In case you don’t know, Huawei is a multinational company based in Shenzhen, China. Huawei specializes in making telecommunication equipment and consumer electronics like smartphones, smartwatches, laptops and all kind of gadgets. Huawei is the second largest smartphone vendor in the world. so you may have heard or read some news over the past few weeks, that the trade war between China and US has escalated to a point where US authorities have canceled the Android license of Huawei Smart Phones. There has been a history of security concerns over the potential of US companies buying Huawei Networking equipment and possibly getting spied on by the Chinese government. Another interesting fact is that US agencies were banned from buying Huawei equipments.
All in all, Huawei’s status in the US has been pretty shaky for a while now. The biggest news now is that the US government signed an executive order into effect, adding Huawei into a blacklist. This means that Huawei is now in the list of companies that are not allowed to conduct business with any US company.
Huawei Matebook E, credits: Huawei
Future of Huawei devices
Huawei was the fastest growing smartphone manufacturer in the world, and they were aiming for the number one spot. Now the biggest question is what does the future hold for Huawei devices, devices that are already in the market and devices that are yet to come.
Now keep in mind, Huawei is given 90 days’ exemption by the US government. This means that they can conduct their business as usual, like sending software updates and security updates to existing Huawei Smartphones for next 90 days up-till August.
Honor being a sub-brand owned by Huawei is also included in this ban. Honor and Huawei phones fall under the same umbrella. According to a tweet by Google, they said that services like Google Play and Google Play Protect will keep functioning on the existing Huawei devices. But, if things stay the way they are, these smartphones will stop getting software updates. Basically, at the end of 90 days, extension by US government whatever software version these phones have is the one that they will have for the rest of their life.
The biggest question arises that can Huawei make future phones without any help from the US. According to a report, Huawei spent $70 Billion buying components in 2018, out of which $11 Billion went to US companies, which include Qualcomm, Intel, etc.
According to another report, Huawei has built up a three-month stockpile of the part they like to use ahead of this ban. even if they did replace all of their US-based hardware suppliers in the next 90 days or so, the biggest issue they are going to face is the software. In today’s market how do you make phones without Android, we have seen a few companies try and fail badly at surviving in the competition with Google Android.
Technically Google Android is an open source software, which does not mean that you do not need a license to use it, which is totally wrong. Huawei has been bracing itself for something like this for a while now, and up till now, they have kept it under the carpet. They recognize their reliance on Google like a bad thing, so they have been slowly building things behind the scenes. Supposedly they have been working on a backup operating system which supports android applications and they have been working hard to make their own app store.
Now, this is an immense challenge even for a company as big as Huawei, to get people to use an alternate operating system and especially the app store. The main thing to focus here is that if you are not allowed to do business with the US companies, you cannot get applications like Facebook, Instagram, Netflix and so on. To build up your own app store and operating system, and getting people to like it is a massive challenge.
Huawei P30 Pro, credits: Huawei
Huawei has seen this coming and they knew that eventually, they would have to stop depending on Google. Now that this has happened it is terrible, not only they were making good phones, but they were the biggest competitor in the smartphone industry. It’s not just the Google they are not allowed to do business with, Huawei was doing business with Microsoft, Intel, and NVidia. This means they would not be able to make windows laptops without doing business with these companies.
Having one less company means less competition. Less competition means less incentive for tech companies to work hard to stay in the game. Lately, we have seen that Huawei phones were amazing, especially P30 Pro. No one can neglect the presence of Huawei in the tech world, even if you don’t like their devices that much.
Now let’s talk about the first generation folding phones. As we are well aware of the two main competitors in folding phone market i.e. Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold. With all the stuff going on what if Mate X could not run Android. It will be interesting to see how the Mate X will be affected.
I believe that for all the tech lovers out there, this is a nightmare. Even if they are not the best, Huawei was still making pretty competitive stuff, just look at Huawei P30 Pro and you will get the idea. Let us not forget that Huawei is a gigantic company, they may be able to ride the wave and who knows, perhaps reach new heights.