Google has suspended business activity with Huawei that involves the transfer of hardware, software and key technical services.
That means Huawei will not be able to license the Android operating system complete with Google services and will instead have to use an open-source version.
Analysts said that could cause big problems for the company internationally, where nearly half of its smartphone shipments go.
Other Huawei suppliers, including Qualcomm and Intel, reportedly told employees they will not sell to the Chinese firm until further notice.
In what will likely be a significant blow to its global smartphone and tablet business, Huawei has today learned that Google is planning to pull the Chinese company’s access to many of its core Android apps and services, including the Google Play Store, Gmail, Search and Chrome.
The move will mean that Huawei is limited to using the public version of Android called Android Open Source Project (AOSP), according to sources who spoke to Reuters.
The change essentially bans the Chinese phone- and tablet-maker from integrating Google software and core apps into any of its future products.
Huawei responded to our request for comment, and hinted at a possible future where it develops its own software:
“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.”
Google also stated it’s looking at the situation, while confirming it will continue to offer updates to current models, in a statement to TechRadar: “We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications. For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”
As Android is an open-source operating system, Huawei can theoretically use updates to the public release of the OS – which would include the upcoming Android Q – to continue development of its smartphones.
However, the loss of the Google Play Store – which for users outside of China is the key source of Android apps – and a lack of Google-made security updates could prove a significant drawback for the prospects of its future phones and tablets.