Huawei & Android: All You Need To Know
Last Wednesday (15th of May 2019) the US Government placed Huawei on a blacklist of foreign companies that US companies are not permitted to do business with (without a licence). Consequently on Monday Google revoked Huawei’s licence to Google’s Android builds (including the licence to bundle Google’s apps (GAPPS) with Android).
There seems to be a lot of scaremongering going on by news outlets (*cough* The Sun *cough*) and misinformation out there, so I’ve decided to compile this small FAQ to clear up some stuff.
Have questions of your own that you want answered? Just comment and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Q: Does this mean Huawei can no longer use Android?
No, Huawei can still use the Android operating system, but only the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) version. Huawei can no longer access Google’s own builds of Android and cannot bundle Google’s apps on their new devices (GMail, YouTube, Drive, etc.).
Q: Will all Huawei devices be affected?
Yes and no. Google services and apps will continue to work on all currently supported Huawei devices indefinitely, meaning that your current Huawei devices for all intents and purposes are unaffected.
However that doesn’t mean that everything will be that way forever- it is likely that current Huawei devices will not receive the update to Android Q (for those devices that would otherwise be eligible for it).
The impending Honor 20 Pro will likely be the last Huawei device to feature a “full” build of Android.
Q: Will my device still receive updates?
The US Government has granted a 90-day extension, so that for the next 90 days Huawei’s licence to Google will still be valid and so Huawei will still be able to access security and OS updates within that period.
After that period however, it is quite likely that whatever update your device is on will be its last Android update.
Q: I’ve heard that Huawei has created its own operating system. How will that work?
There have been reports that Huawei has created its own operating system that will be able to run Android apps. The reports aren’t that specific but given that the OS will be able to run Android apps, it’s probably just Huawei’s AOSP version of Android and is still Android at its core.
Huawei’s future devices will likely use this operating system, and there’s a possibility that Huawei may offer an application (similar to Apple’s iTunes) for the desktop to allow upgrading the operating system on their most recent flagship devices to their new OS (Mate 20 & 20 Pro, P30 Lite & Pro, Honor 20, etc.).
Outside Huawei’s most recent flagship devices, don’t expect the operating system to be available on any other of Huawei’s pre-blacklist devices.
Q: Should I sell my Huawei device, and what are my rights as a consumer?
If you’re currently enjoying your Huawei device, there’s no reason to sell it right now (actually, CeX in the UK seems to have slightly increased their grade A prices of Huawei’s flagships, so it seems demand has increased slightly). The Mate 20 Pro & P30 Pro have camera arrays that are unparallelled in the smartphone industry and it would be (in my opinion) a silly decision to sell your device if you have one of the previously mentioned.
However in 90 days if Huawei has not announced a way to mitigate not having access to Google’s security updates, then you should probably be safe for another few months (however anything more than that and you should look at purchasing a new device).
If you have an older Huawei device and are looking to upgrade to a newer one, then you should probably look at purchasing a device from another manufacturer.
Note: the following pertains to UK consumers:
If you’ve bought a new Huawei device in the last 30 days you may return it to the retailer you purchased it from, as long as it is in the condition that it was sold to you (protective films and wraps can be missing, but see below for additional information on this), this is called right to cancel. If you purchased your device in a high-street store it is up to the store’s return policy.
Note that if the device you return is missing accessories, the retailer has the right to refuse a return. If you have opened the packaging and used the device (taken off the plastic wrapping and film) then the retailer has the right to deduct from your refund (to cover that they will now need to resell the device second-hand) or refuse a return.
The above does not apply to second-hand devices (refer to the store’s return policy as you may be able to return your device).
If you bought a Huawei device from eBay: please don’t submit a fraudulent return (claiming the device is not working when you just changed your mind) as these types of return can damage a seller.
Unless a seller specifically states that they accept returns, they do not have to accept an unwanted item return (if you really want to return your device, be honest with them and they may accept a return anyway).
If a seller accepts a returns request, expect to pay return postage.
Q: Why have the Chinese government been spying on the West via Huawei’s devices and services?
There’s no evidence of this actually happening- this story (about Huawei abusing their position to spy) originated from the Trump Administration and has no basis in fact.
News outlets have not helped with stories such as “Huawei security backdoor present in Vodafone equipment for 10 years“- this in particular was a debug telco port that Vodafone opened for equipment diagnosis and forgot to close.
The United States has been stuck in a trade war with China for a couple of years now and the rumor is that the US Government created this to sow doubt internationally.