Since May last year, each new Huawei-branded smartphones has been forced to launch without access to Google’s popular apps and online services. This is due to a current US trade ban which blocks American companies from doing business with the firm, which will also be removed from the UK’s 5G infrastrcuture in the coming months and years. The block has left all new Huawei gadgets, such as the new Huawei P40 Pro, releasing without Gmail, Google Photos, Google Maps, YouTube, and the all-important Play Store, which offers phone owners access to the likes of Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp, Netflix, and thousands more apps, games, ebooks, and songs.
Worse still, it now appears that owners of phones that launched before the block, such as the popular Huawei P30 Pro series, could also soon be affected by the Android ban as well.
Until last week, Google had been granted a special license allowing them to push out updates to older devices. But, as reported by The Washington Post, that license has now expired which may potentially leave Huawei owners without vital Android updates aimed at keeping devices safe.
Google regularly pushes out bug fixes and security upgrades which all device owners are urged to download. Without these software patches, phones can become much more vulnerable and they also won’t receive any new features that the US tech giant may have been working.
It’s also a concern that all Huawei devices will face the same Google services block, leaving phones without access to an array of apps and the Play Store.
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Huawei appears aware of the situation and is “monitoring and assessing the potential impact.” We’ll have to wait for official confirmation from either Huawei or Google to find out what is happening for sure, but the intial report from the Washington Post seems pretty damning.
Back in February, Google released a statement saying was happy to continue to work with Huawei with the firm saying: “We have continued to work with Huawei, in compliance with government regulations, to provide security updates and updates to Google’s apps and services on existing devices, and we will continue to do so as long as it is permitted.”
Speaking to The Washington Post last week, Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said it was the temporary general license that had allowed the company to send those updates. It’s unclear what happens now and if P30 Pro and owners of other older handsets are now in for a rocky ride.
Huawei is doing best to make things easier for those who buy a device without Google service.
The Chinese firm now has its own app store which continues to grow on an almost daily basis and there’s also the recently-released Petal Search – Find Apps service.
This option will now automatically scour the web for any applications that are available for the Huawei P40 Pro. This search includes numerous third-party stores as well as anything in the Huawei App Gallery. So, even if the messaging app or game hasn’t been launched in the App Gallery quite yet, but is available to download from the developer’s website, or another online Android app repository, Petal Search should bring-up a link to download with a single click.
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