How Does the Huawei US Ban Affect South Africans?

Staff Writer / 23-08-2019 / News

US President Donald Trump issued a ban last month, barring American companies from trading with certain Chinese companies, including Huawei, which has grown rapidly over the years to become one of the major players in the market with the release of popular devices like the Mate 20 and P30 Pro. As you may know, the ban means that Google would have to cut off Huawei’s access to its Android operating system, Google apps and security updates, leaving Huawei smartphone owners worried that their beloved devices just turned into expensive paperweights. There’s no need to panic, yet.

Not long after the ban was announced, Huawei was granted a 3-month grace period that would allow them to continue doing business with Google, meaning that current users of its devices would not be affected and can still access the Google Play Store, download apps such as Gmail and YouTube, and receive security updates and patches. The long-term plan is still unclear though as no-one can predict what will happen after the 3-month grace period ends on 19 August 2019, but just in case, Huawei is developing a backup plan.

Once news of the ban broke, Huawei revealed that it has been working on its own app store and operating system, similar to Apple’s App Store and iOS. It’s reportedly called Hong Meng, but details on whether it will be ready in time if the ban continues after the grace period have been scarce. Another concern is whether there is room for a new operating system, as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android pretty much dominate the smartphone industry worldwide. Even Microsoft had to abandon their Windows mobile OS because of poor adoption and lack of support from app developers. The other option Huawei has is switching all users to the open-source version of Android, but this OS will be limited in terms of access to Google’s apps, which will have to be accessed via a web browser or by side-loading the apps on devices, which may seem like too much trouble for the average user looking for a phone that just works right out of the box.

Huawei recently released a statement to the media: “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.”

For now, Huawei users will not be affected by the ban and can continue using their phones and updating them as usual. Just in case you were wondering, you cannot return your Huawei smartphone to the network you bought it from as, according to law, sellers cannot be held liable or responsible for external events that are out of their control. The bottom line is that you may never need to sell or dump your Huawei smartphone as the ban could be lifted even before the grace period runs out should Trump’s trade negotiations with China move ahead amicably.

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