If you’ve not been living under a rock, we’re sure you already know about how Google revoked Chinese company Huawei’s Android license, being forced to do so by an order passed by US President Donald Trump. According to latest reports, the US Commerce Department has effectively delayed some of the consequences of that Huawei ban by 90 days starting May 21. In this period, Huawei will be able to purchase American-made goods “in order to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets”. However, the saga will probably last for a while.
This move is possibly going to change the entire mobile landscape. While it will start out with Huawei, the ripple effect might spread to users eventually, especially the ones who currently own a Huawei handset. For those of you who were planning to purchase one, you are safe, for now. Let’s take a quick glance at how this Huawei ban is going to affect companies and users.
Huawei is looking at a tough time ahead
Huawei and its sub-brand Honor are going to be the biggest losers of this ban, for obvious reasons. Current phones of the brand, as well as some upcoming models, will continue working and getting security updates and access to the Google Play store. So, phones like the Honor 20 (which is slated to unveil on May 22) should hopefully not face issues right now.
However, the current models may be stuck on whatever Android version they are running on as of today. Right now, there is no clarity on whether they will be able to upgrade to Android 10 Q, but any update after that is most definitely a no-go.
No new Huawei or Honor phone will be able to launch with Google services now. There will be no app store for them. So, no more apps, games, and most importantly, no major upgrade. Who will buy these phones anymore, except maybe China?
Users will have fewer choices
Consumers like us stand to lose a lot from this too. In recent times, Huawei had started establishing itself as formidable competition to premium, established brands like Samsung and Apple. Remember the Huawei P30 Pro? Its camera is possibly the best in the business right now. Even Honor phones offered users a great alternative to Samsung, OnePlus and Xiaomi in the mid-range segment.
Google will lose a lot of customers
Android was a great funnel for Google to reach users with its services. With the ban coming into effect and Huawei and Honor gone, a major chunk of those users will be lost, and the market might contract, albeit temporarily. Android’s brand image will be under some threat as well, with manufacturers wondering whether they too should have a Plan B in place.
The search for new component buyers and suppliers
While Huawei does have its own chipsets and modems, it doesn’t have all. For instance, the Huawei P30 Pro uses Micron memory, but Micron is now part of companies that no longer sell to Huawei. Component suppliers will now have to scout for new buyers for their products, while Huawei will have to find new suppliers. Huawei also has an in-house OS called “Hongmeng”, but we’re not sure if it is ready for use just yet.
While the ban will make Huawei suffer, other smartphone makers will now have less competition, especially brands like Xiaomi and OPPO. They are anyway rapidly expanding and will be more than happy to fill up the vacant spots left behind by Huawei and Honor.
Users may eventually have more options
Right now, users may have to rely only on select phones, this ban could mean that Huawei will push for the development of its own OS. With Apple and Android being the only option for users currently, Huawei might be able to break this duopoly eventually.
We can only wait and see what will happen in the coming months. If the US reverses its decision, everything will go back to being what it was, but if not, then the world will have to adjust to a new phone landscape.