Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.20 20 May 2019


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Google has dealt a major blow to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, by blocking the firm from using critical apps and services like Gmail and YouTube on its range of smartphones, according to reports.

Just like other major smartphone makers including Samsung and LG, Huawei relies on the Google-developed Android operating system to power its mobile devices.

It comes amid a US crackdown on Chinese technology companies due to ongoing security concerns.

US President Donald Trump declared a "national emergency" last week over the perceived threat posed by Chinese companies and imposed severe sanctions on Huawei.

It means US companies are barred from using telecommunications equipment made by firms deemed to pose a national security risk.

The US Commerce Department also added Huawei and 70 affiliated companies to a blacklist, banning it from acquiring components and technology from US firms without government approval.

Huawei A hand holds a smartphone displaying Google Play Store and Gmail icons against Huawei logo | Image: Andre M Chang/Zuma Press/PA Images

Reuters and The Verge report that Google has suspended business with Huawei - and in doing so hugely undermined its lineup of handsets.

Existing products will no longer receive Android updates, which bring new features and security improvements, and future releases will lose access to the vital Google Play Store, through which users download new apps.

Google has not responded directly to the reports, but said it was "complying with the order" issued by the US president and was "reviewing the implications".

In a tweet, Android said: "For Huawei users' questions regarding our steps to comply w/ the recent US government actions: We assure you while we are complying with all US gov't requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device."

In a statement, Huawei said it will "continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those have been sold or still in stock globally".

It is thought Huawei will be restricted to using a public version of the operating system called Android Open Source Project, which does not include standard Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Google Photos and YouTube.

Although Huawei smartphones are banned from the US, enormous sales figures in China and impressive growth in parts of Europe has seen the company overtake iPhone maker Apple in terms of market share.

Huawei Source: StatCounter

Data from StatCounter shows the firm is the third largest mobile phone brand in terms of market share in Ireland.

Huawei accounts for 10.9% of handsets, behind Samsung (32.01%) and Apple (43.65%).

The figures to April this year show others - such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson - have around 1%.

Back in August last year, Huawei overtook Apple in global smartphone sales for the first time.

But the intervention from Google could cripple hopes of further expansion.

While a custom Huawei-built operating system would cause little issue in its home market, where most Google apps are banned anyway, it would likely be rejected by Western customers.

Google apps and services are a critical part of Android devices, and Huawei owners in Europe may now be forced to seek alternatives to what the Chinese company has to offer.

Huawei has continued to insist that its products pose no security threat.

Additional reporting: IRN


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