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Retailers Set To Strip Huawei Devices From Shelves

As Huawei gets sets to launch a brand-new premium smartphone in London tonight, retailers in Australia are getting set to strip the Chinese Companies devices from their shelves, after Google decided to stop supply of Android OS updates as well as restrict access to Google services.

Google said it was taking ‘steps to comply with recent government actions’ after President Donald Trump added Huawei to a US blacklist.

Tonight, Huewei is planning to roll out their new Honor 20 Series smartphone, the only problem is that the device will not be able to get Android updates or access to the Google Playstore, Chrome, Google Maps or YouTube via the on-board apps analysts have described the device as “a dud” because of the restrictions it faces.

In a research note to clients, Citi analysts said the potential software ban “could paralyse Huawei’s smartphone and equipment business”.

Eoin Keary, CEO of cyber-security firm Edgescan claims that Google’s decision to cut-off Huawei could be a death sentence for the Chinese tech giant and expose its customers to a host of cyber-security issues.

He claims that the move by Google to deny Huawei who has been described as a Chinese security risk as a “hammer-blow” that could spell ‘the beginning of the end’ for Huawei.

Huawei’s reaction to the decision is to highlight the fact that they are developing their own OS (See separate story)

The inability for users to update their apps is a serious issue as they will rapidly become outdated and vulnerable, he revealed.

Google said existing devices will have access to the Play Store but there is no timeline on how long this will last.

A Google spokesperson said: ‘We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications.

Several retailers who sell Huawei products in Australia have said that “They are concerned” as to the legal ramifications of selling a product that faces software restrictions.

One retailer has told us that a decision will be made today as to whether they will strip Huawei devices from their shelves.

Telstra has already stopped selling Huawei devices including their new P30 and P20 smartphones.

Both Optus and Vodafone told ChannelNews that they are still investigating the matter and are in discussions with both Google and Huawei.

Existing customers of Huawei’s technology still have access to the Play Store but not its updates.

Brands such as Motorola, Alcatel, LG and Samsung, will have access to the full Android updates as they are rolled out but not Huawei customers.

All major and minor updates from the Play Store will therefore bypass Huawei, including any security patches.

‘Updates to the next version of apps will also be restricted. If you have a Huawei phone, you won’t get security updates,’ Mr Keary said.

‘Huawei could be a very, very insecure device as updates are not available and millions and millions of users will be increasingly less secure.’

Google has yet to issue a statement on what the implications will be for new users and their engineers have been banned from collaborating with Huawei engineers on any updates.

‘Huawei has said it plans to build its own features from the open-source material, but that’s a huge mountain to climb,’ Mr Keary added.

China’s controversial telecommunications equipment maker Huawei openly supports the ruling Communist Party.

Ren Zhengfei, a former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) engineer, founded the company in 1987 and it has risen to rank among the world’s top manufacturers of network equipment.

But his PLA service has led to concerns of close links with the Chinese military and government, which Huawei has consistently denied.

Huawei Australia has responded to the news asserting local consumers will not be impacted by the actions of the US involving Google – nor those planning to buy a Huawei handset in the future.

The company claims Huawei Australia customers will be able to continue using Google services (e.g. Gmail) on their phones as per normal.

Read the full statement below:

HUAWEI MEDIA STATEMENT

To be attributed to Jeremy Mitchell, Director of Corporate Affairs, Huawei Australia

We want to assure Huawei customers in Australia that the US actions involving Google will not impact consumers with a Huawei smartphone or tablet or those that are planning to buy a Huawei device in the near future from an Australian retail outlet.

Consumers with Huawei devices will still receive security updates and be able to use Google apps. Huawei will continue to provide 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.

Australian consumers will be able to continue using Google services like Google Play and Gmail on their Huawei phones as they normally would.

Google Android updates will continue to be provided for Huawei EMUI and Google apps will not be affected.

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. We will continue to prioritize the development and use of the Android ecosystem.

Huawei 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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