Huawei phones will continue to get security updates, after sales service, company says following Android ban

Huawei says it will continue to provide security updates and after sales support to its mobile devices following a decision by Google to terminate its Android trading licence. Photo

Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all its existing smartphone and tablets, as well as those from sister brand Honor, following a decision by Google to suspend the China-based tech multinational’s Android trading licence.

That’s according to a statement released by Huawei at midday on Monday (20 May 2019). The brief statement did not say what the expected impact would be on new products including the Mate 20 X 5G scheduled for global release in early June and its folding smartphone-tablet hybrid, the Mate X, due later this year.

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry,” the company said.

“Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally. We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

While local industry experts agreed that there was no immediate need for concern from owners of existing Huawei devices, Google’s decision, if not reversed soon, could have a significant negative impact on the company and its customers across the world, including in South Africa

They were reacting to the news that several large American companies, Google among them, have frozen the supply of critical software and components to Huawei in an effort to comply with new US trade restrictions on Huawei.

According to Duncan McLeod, the founder and editor of respected industry publication TechCentral, the ban isn’t much of an issue for Huawei on its home turf, where Google doesn’t have an official presence and where Chinese consumers use numerous alternative services.

“But it’s very serious indeed for consumers outside China – including in South Africa – where the Google suite of Android apps is extremely popular,” MacLeod wrote in an editorial on Monday.

“If the ban lasts long, it will drive consumers away from the Huawei brand and into the arms of rivals such as Samsung Electronics and Apple. Details remain sketchy, but Google’s decision could also be bad news for existing Huawei customers, who may no longer get updates to Google apps. Could Huawei be forced to remove Google services from its handsets? It’s not clear yet.”

Steven Ambrose, CEO of Strategy Worx Consulting, concurred, describing the Trump Administration’s new batch of restrictions as “dangerous brinkmanship” with hugely negative potential consequences, not only for Huawei but also for US firms like Apple and Google.

“What’s been until now an ugly spat between the US and China has escalated into a full-blown trade war. China can’t let this slide. It will have to react, and the consequences could be dire,” Ambrose said in a telephone interview from Shanghai, China.

“Wars can get messy and if it becomes a drawn-out affair South Africa could be pulled into the fray beyond just the smartphone space,” Ambrose said, pointing out that Huawei is a global leader in the technology behind 5G currently starting to roll out globally.

“What happens if the US, through its mobile networks put pressure on their counterparts around the world, including in South African, not to use Huawei 5G technology? Suddenly the entire global interconnection regime will need a revisit.”

He was, however, “cautiously optimistic” that cooler heads would prevail and that the trade war would be de-escalated within the next month or two. –