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Image credit: Cherlynn Low/Engadget

Google suspends Huawei's Android support (updated)

It would lose Google apps and future OS updates.
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Cherlynn Low/Engadget

Huawei was already facing serious trouble following the Trump administration's de facto ban, but it might get considerably worse. Reuters sources claim Google has suspended transactions with Huawei that require transferring proprietary hardware and software, hobbling much of its smartphone business outside of China. It "immediately" loses access to future OS updates beyond the Android Open Source Project, according to the insider, and upcoming phones would have to go without official apps like the Google Play Store and Gmail.

The company is still "internally" discussing which services are going away, the source said. Google would cut off all tech support and collaboration for Android and services, however.

We've asked Google for comment. If accurate, though, the suspension would represent a serious blow to Huawei's mobile efforts. Although this shouldn't dent the company's Chinese business much (it can't use Google apps in the country), it depends on access to Google apps to remain competitive with devices like the P30 Pro. So long as the US blacklisting persists, Huawei might have to rely on third-party apps and services just to offer fully functional handsets -- and there's no guarantee customers will be receptive to the change.

Update 5/19 5:15PM ET: Engadget understands that the report is accurate, although there will be a slight reprieve. Updates for Play Services and apps will still go through, as they don't require that Google interacts with Huawei. OS and security updates, however, are strictly off-limits.

Update 5/20 4:55AM ET: Huawei has provided its first response to Google's action:

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.

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