Well, you only need to worry if you have a Huawei phone, or a Nexus 6P … In the short term you’ll see no difference, but here’s what you need to know …
First thing – don’t panic, Your phone will continue to work today as it did yesterday. It will impact security and functionality in time though.
What this announcement means for security is that your current phone may not receive any Google security patches. In reality, you probably won’t notice much difference. Huawei, like a lot of manufacturers, takes Google’s Android and changes it for their phones. This means the security updates come from the manufacturer, rather than direct from Google. Huawei will continue to supply security updates – they’ll need to take it from the open source version of Android now though.
Longer term Huawei could switch to the open source version of Android, and they say they’ve also been developing their own operating system (OS) and app store. Personally, I question the viability of a 3rd OS and app store, particularly a vendor specific one. Anyone got a Windows phone? Google and Apple have such a large market share, it’s very hard to be competitive.
New phones will certainly* not have Google’s version of Android, or be allowed access to Google apps such as Gmail, the App Store or Google Maps. This is a huge blow, and that’s the real news story here.
*for as long as Huawei remain a threat to the USAs national security …
So to the FAQs …
Should I ditch my current Huawei phone? No! Your current phone won’t be impacted hugely by this announcement. You may want to keep an eye on the security patch situation though.
Should I buy a new Huawei phone or Nexus 6P? Well, it’s entirely possible that prices may fall and you could nab yourself a bargain. Remember, it’s only new phones that will be impacted and be restricted from using Google apps. So don’t rule out a Huawei phone right now. Make sure it does ship with Google’s OS though. And I wouldn’t pay full price.
What’s the future looking like for Huawei phones? I’d say pretty bleak. If they can’t get access to the App Store and other Googe apps, they pretty much immediately look like the poor cousin of every other Android phone. Certainly they can’t continue to compete with the ‘flagship’ phones from other companies.
Update: 25th November 2019
The Huawei P30 is now available in the UK, without access to Google’s apps and operating system. Read more, from the always reliable Tech Radar here.
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