Well, that was quick. News broke yesterday that following on from sanctions imposed by the U.S. government, Google would restrict Huawei’s access to Android updates and popular Android apps. At the time, I wrote that I hoped it would simply blow over. While that hasn’t happened, a small breeze has blown the can down the street for a few months.
Today, the U.S. Commerce Department created a temporary general license which restores Huawei’s ability to maintain existing networks. It also paves the way for allowing Google to provide Android software updates to existing Huawei handsets. Long story short, this scales back the restrictions imposed by the U.S. government last week on Huawei and lasts until August 2019.
What Happens After The License Expires
Being totally honest, this still remains a complete unknown. The U.S. has become incredibly unpredictable for stuff like this. For me, most telling in all of this is how quickly this went from complete disaster for Huawei to being back to square one. It smacks of a political move of a pawn, but I’ll leave my conspiracy theories for another day.
To stick to the fact, this temporary license lasts until August 2019. When it expires we’re back to where we were yesterday with Huawei phones not having access to Android updates and popular Google apps like YouTube. Again, I’d be shocked if this were to actually ever happen, but we’ll have to watch on with bated breath.
Unfortunately for Huawei, the damage has already been done. Even before this announcement, following yesterday’s news, buying a P30 Pro wouldn’t have meant you were up shit creek. Google’s withdrawal of access to Android goodies for Huawei meant new phones coming to the market. Not existing handsets. Today’s update means Huawei will likely get to launch their Mate X folding phone without restrictions. The Mate 30 Pro will likely fall on the far side of the deadline.
Huawei’s Plan For The Future
What will Huawei do with this time? Will they continue to battle on and prove their worth to Google? I really don’t think so. Right now, I believe Huawei will focus on porting as much Android functionality as possible to their own bespoke operating system. Whether or not this is a modified version of Android or a brand new operating system altogether remains to be seen. I can’t see Huwaei waiting around to see what happens next from the U.S.
This is speculation, but sure to follow us for the latest as this story develops.