The war between Donald Trump and China rages on, possibly reaching a crescendo following Trump’s recent announcement. The announcement detailed the blacklist of business relations between U.S companies and Huawei, citing the latter as an “unacceptable risk” to national security.
The ban itself was not wholly surprising, given the rising tensions between the two countries. However, the ramifications from the fallout will have an impact further reaching than the shores of America and China. In the wake of the announcement, Google has come out and said that they will be complying with the order and thus, will be rescinding future support for their Android operating system.
There is a sense of irony that emanates from the whole debacle. U.S and China will probably be the least bothered by the news, with the former already having restricted sales of Huawei products and likewise, the latter censoring Google-related products like Gmail and YouTube within its country. Elsewhere around the world, this is a different story.
Huawei is an emerging entity in the smartphone market, currently occupying the second spot in worldwide smartphone shipments; overtaking tech giant Apple despite not having a presence in one of the biggest markets in the world – the U.S. Needless to say, Huawei has a massive global presence, and this news is a big concern for millions of people.
There seems to be no immediate effect on current Huawei users. In a statement sent via e-mail to danamic., Huawei reassures its current customers that security updates and after-sales services will still be available across all Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products.
“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.
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.”
However, there is a strong likelihood that Huawei devices will not get the next update to the operating system, Android Q, which is due to release in August this year, thus missing out on key features planned to be introduced, such as Live Caption and Dark Mode.
This will also concern people waiting on new versions of Huawei devices, with a likely impact on the launch of the next iteration of Huawei’s Mate series that had an anticipated release window of October.
The issue effectively leaves Huawei users stuck in limbo, but possibly the most problematic aspect of the blacklist is the cascade effect on the entire smartphone market. This has the potential to wipe Huawei off the market, and it isn’t a good thing. People might complain about having too many options for smartphones, but competition is always a good thing for consumers.
With more companies in the race, it pushes smartphone manufacturers to constantly innovate on their products in order to have an advantage in market share over their competitors, leading to better smartphones and happier consumers.
Without Android, potential buyers may not see Huawei as a viable option due to lack of software features while current users may feel left behind and drop it as a go-to device, crippling the company’s user base. With Huawei no longer seen as a competitor, smartphone companies may be obliged to temper the scale of the new releases.
Huawei seems to have a plan to counteract this problem though. Rumours are swirling that the tech company had already anticipated such an outcome and began developing their own operating system, named “HongMeng OS”.
It remains to be seen whether this would be a good alternative to Android, with features yet to be revealed. Another big question mark is how much third-party app support it can garner as well, especially in the early phases of the OS, with people comparing it to the Google Play Store.
The most infuriating part about the situation is how this whole feud is dragging millions of people into the mix, despite not even having a stake in the matter. Regardless of how you see the situation playing out, it is quite clear that there are no winners coming out of this fight.
Photos by Soloman Soh of the DANAMIC team. Visuals courtesy of Google and Huawei.