Older Huawei smartphones and other devices will no longer receive official Android and Google updates, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The publication has confirmed that the temporary license, which allowed for certain exceptions to a ban on US companies dealing with Huawei, expired on 13 August 2020.
US President Donald Trump originally issued an order which barred software and hardware makers in the country from conducting business with certain Chinese companies back in May 2019.
The ban came amidst an ongoing rift between the countries regarding trade policies and concerns over Huawei’s equipment, which the US has claimed could be used to conduct surveillance on its citizens and undermine its national security.
This meant companies like Google could not provide Huawei’s new devices with its apps or software, including Google Mobile Services (GMS).
GMS is the platform which allows for the integration of Google accounts on Android that users with access to the Google Play Store, and apps like Gmail, YouTube, and Google Photos.
Exceptions for older smartphones
Due to the ban, Huawei’s latest smartphones – including the Mate 30 and P40 range – have shipped with an open-source version of Android without GMS.
These phones run the company’s own EMUI interface with its AppGallery store for downloading and installing apps.
Owners of older Huawei smartphones and Android-based devices, however, have been able to continue using GMS and its accompanying apps thanks to a temporary license which the US government has repeatedly extended since the ban was originally announced.
This license was primarily intended to allow rural communities in the country which rely on the company’s network equipment to continue receiving support and updates while they seek alternative suppliers.
What the expiry means
If you own an older Huawei smartphone which still offers GMS, you may no longer be served with updates from Google which offer new features and critical security fixes for its apps.
This could possibly lead to the withdrawal of support for the Google Play Store, as well as apps like Gmail and YouTube on older Huawei devices.
Huawei has collaborated with various companies in South Africa to expand the apps available on its AppGallery store.
For example, it now offers apps from most of the major banks in South Africa – including Absa, Capitec, Nedbank, Standard Bank, and Discovery Bank.
Update – Huawei responds
Huawei South Africa has told MyBroadband it will continue providing system updates and security patches for older Huawei devices.
“For phones with Google Play installed out-of-the-box, all apps downloaded from Google Play and other Google apps will continue receiving updates,” the company said.
“Our customers can keep receiving software updates and services thanks to the strength of the open source community and our own advanced R&D capabilities,” Huawei explained.
For phones that do not come with Google Play, new apps and updates can be managed through the pre-installed Huawei AppGallery, the company noted.