When woke up this morning, posts about the Huawei banned by the US government, which resulting Google, Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Xilinx, Infineon, etc will stop supplying anything to Huawei effective immediately.
This is nothing new, as US had did the same to ZTE back in April 2018 due to ZTE sell their products to Iran and North Korea. In another word, US is trying to dictate who you can or can not do business with in the ZTE case. US was intended to ban ZTE for 7 years, but the ban was lifted eventually after 3 months, after ZTE paid up 1 billion fines and allow US to monitor (control) the company operations.
In Huawei case, US decided to ban Huawei because Donald Trump thinks that if US cripple up Huawei’s growth, he will be able to win the trade war against China. For Google, they have no choice, because Google had been pressured by the US government a lot for supplying technology to China companies, and US government is mainly using the accusation that Google is spying everyone via their Android, and hence they thinks China will be able to spy on anyone since they are using Android in producing their smart phones. Well, the fact is, US thinks that their NSA have the rights to spy on anyone and anytime they want, but no one else can spy on anyone.
Huawei product that impact most end users is the smart phones, followed by network devices.
So this article, I will focus on Huawei smart phones.
What will happen to future Huawei smart phones?
- Google had revoked Huawei’s license to access on any proprietary codes to Android and any of Google’s apps.
Ok, no big deal. The ban is just to block Huawei from accessing the proprietary codes.
Means access to those Open Source ones were not blocked. Google can’t stop anyone accessing Open Source codes anyway, the law is protecting Open Source codes to not be monopolize by anyone anyway.
So, basically Huawei can still use Android codes, but the fully Open Source ones, a.k.a Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
Therefore, any existing Huawei Android smart phones on the market can still receive updates for its OS, just a little bit delays. Google Playstore will still works as usual, updates of apps will still be working. Nothing change.
While for future models of Huawei’s smart phones, it will be quite significant difference.
Since Huawei no longer having license to produce smart phones pre-loaded with Android and any of Google’s apps, Huawei had announced their hidden project since 2012, which it is the HongMeng OS.
At this moment, there are not much news regarding this Huawei OS yet. No one knows what is this OS built based on. It could be a fork of Android AOSP, it could be build from scratch using Linux as its kernel, it could be something build on top of FreeBSD kernel. No one knows anything yet.
But the fact that AOSP is still freely accessible by Huawei, there are high possibility that Huawei can build the OS to have compatibility to Android and makes it able to use apps built for Android.
Developing own smart phone OS is nothing new. Samsung had did the same previously, as they fear that some day, Google might cut off the license of accessing to Android’s codes to them. Hence, they developed BadaOS which using FreeBSD kernel. Then replaced BadaOS with Tizen OS, which using Linux kernel.
What!? No more Google Play Store in future Huawei smart phones!?
- Install Open Gapp Yourself
- Download and install 3rd party app stores, such as Aptoide
- Download apps from another phone, back-up the app and transfer to the Huawei phone.
As I mentioned earlier, at this point we still don’t know if the HongMeng OS is based on Android AOSP or not yet.
If it is true that HongMeng OS is based on AOSP version of Android, then it means it will be able to use most of the Android apps, including those apps built by Google such as Youtube, Gmail, Gmap etc.
Although sure sure it won’t be pre-installed with Google Play Store, but there are still a lot ways you can have apps stores in the phone.
The Open GApps Project is an open-source effort to script the automatic generation of up-to-date Google Apps packages.
Quoted from https://opengapps.org/#aboutsection
Previously, I like to buy cheap China MTK phones due to the price is very very cheap. But the downside is, it just comes with very basic version of Android, which it is the AOSP version of Android without any enhancement at all. There are no Google Play Store pre-installed.
Therefore, the first thing I do, is download the Open Gapp packages myself and install into the phone myself.
Then viola! I can download any apps I want from the Google Play Store.
It is legal to do so, and not violating any law at all.
Depending on the law of your country, it maybe illegal for you to use these type of 3rd party app stores, since apps uploaded in these kinds of app stores are uploaded by users.
Some of the apps are paid apps which contributed by users who had purchased it, which make it illegal for you to use it since you didn’t pay for it.
Some of the apps might be fake ones, which it is actually some malware, or modified and added with malicious codes to hijack or mass spamming ads to your phone.
So this option is not safe.
Although it is confirmed to be safe from malicious codes, but this could be illegal, if you are transferring some paid apps to a phone which was not registered to install the apps.
Well, if you are just doing this on free apps, then it should be fine. Even Whatsapp is allowing people to download the APK file from their website to be install into any Android phones.
What if HongMeng OS is not based on Android, but something totally alien that not compatible with Android apps!?
Well, that’s not the end of the world.
As I mentioned about the Android AOSP earlier, other than Huawei can have access to the codes, anyone are able to access the codes as well.
Community like LineageOS(formerly CynogenOS) were building a community version of Android firmwares for various smart phones.
There are even a download list for Huawei phones, where you can download and install the LineageOS into your Huawei phone which match the model on the list.
Since Huawei had dominated a huge portion of the smart phone market, I assume there will be a lot developers will contribute to compile newer versions of LineageOS for future Huawei phones as well.
Some hardcore supporters might even fork the AOSP codes and build a custom OS for these future Huawei phones with the look of current Huawei UI.
Well, in this case, I see infinite of possibilities for the future of Huawei.
Huawei is a very strong company and even backed by the China government. It won’t be crippled easily by this ban.
This article, I only mentioned about the software parts.
I might also write on the hardware parts where US chips manufacturers will stop supplying chips to Huawei.