Unprecedented loss of support? Huawei and Google

“Huawei will immediately lose access to updates to the Android operating system, and the next version of its smartphones outside of China will also lose access to popular applications and services including the Google Play Store and Gmail app.”

First: is this unprecedented? Has anything like this, at this scale (hundreds of millions of devices - although unclear how many are Android), ever occurred before? Do I understand correctly that all existing Huawei mobiles have instantly lost security patches and support? (What about access to Google Playstore?)

Next question: what are the options of Huawei owners? (I see that Lineage is not that well supported for the latest models?)

While Trump and the UK seem to be downing on Huawei, for the suspicion that their code is backdoored for the Chinese military. Nobody is talking about how we KNOW that the NSA is backdooring devices from the Snowden documents. Should the UK put a ban on Cisco, Qualcom and Motorola?


No question there seems to be some massive moral panic about Huawei, not helped by facile media coverage. (Also noting the historic irony of the UK freaking out about Chinese company’s attempt to get the country to become dependent on their product.)

The Belgian press mentioned that the support will remain for the existing devices, but that for future Huawei devices another OS will be installed, as Huawei has no rights anymore to install Android.

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This just published by our consumer advocacy organisation

Google told the Reuters news wire: ‘Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.’ Whether that changes in future naturally remains to be seen. It’s also not yet clear whether this will affect devices globally, or only phones serviced by Google in the US.

Just to add to this, The Guardian has just published a guide for owners of Huawei devices:

tl;dr: no significant changes for now (for existing devices), but future devices will be affected.

Confirmed by Google:


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So Google is providing Huawei with its monthly security patches, for existing devices. Appears so based on the coverage, via AOSP, just like Lineage.

Huawei has a middling track record for delivering the monthly security updates made available by Google, so it is likely users will receive a similar level of service with security updates delivered at about the same pace.

The saga of Hobbling Huawei: Inside the U.S. war on China’s tech giant.

Basically the big bad Chinese wolf was spotted by Australians (first) - without any public hard evidence. It includes a tiny -unexplained- reference to the documented evidence of hardware interception by the USA:

In a keynote speech, Guo Ping, a deputy chairman at Huawei, took aim at America’s own spying operations. “Prism, Prism on the wall. Who’s the most trustworthy of them all?” he said. Guo was referring to a mass U.S. foreign-surveillance operation called Prism that was disclosed by former NSA contractor Snowden. The barb drew laughter from the audience.

The most interesting bit in this article, IMHO, is about the alleged poor software practice of Huawei:

Ian Levy, a British security official who oversees the UK’s review of Huawei equipment, told Reuters the company’s software engineering is like something from 20 years ago.

The source management of such large software projects is extremely complex and the role of the build team and build manager is a key one I have witnessed in another mobile OS company.

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Bigger scale: Huawei: ARM memo tells staff to stop working with China’s tech giant:

In a statement on Wednesday it said: "ARM is complying with the latest restrictions set forth by the US government and is having ongoing conversations with the appropriate US government agencies to ensure we remain compliant.

“ARM values its relationship with our long-time partner HiSilicon and we are hopeful for a swift resolution on this matter.”

Interesting point: a ban on Huawei could actually hurt Google’s monopoly on Android, making a non-“official” Android version run by Huawei more common than Google’s one