In a significant blow to Chinese device maker Huawei’s mobile business, Google pulled the company’s Android license over the weekend. Intel, Qualcomm, and other hardware vendors followed suit by ending relationships with Huawei, dealing a potential death blow to the company.
This decision follows last week’s executive order from the White House to block Chinese telecommunications companies from doing business in the US—an order that was mostly directed at Huawei. Google, Intel, Qualcomm, and other vendors were quick to comply, killing all relationships with the Chinese OEM. Microsoft is also said to be considering blocking updates to Huawei laptops.
Huawei has been accused of being an extension of the Chinese government that gives the country a global reach. The fear is that Huawei could install backdoors onto its devices, allowing China to spy on American users, networks, and more. Thus, the decision to effectively remove Huawei from the US is considered a response to a national security threat. It’s worth noting that, up to this point, there’s no evidence that this has ever happened—just heavy speculation.
Google’s removal of Huawei’s Android license means the company can no longer distribute a version of the operating system that allows access to Google services. That means the Play Store, Google Assistant, several notification services, and a lot more will be missing from future Huawei devices. This is similar to how Android devices already work in China (where Google is blocked), but isn’t something the rest of the world is interested in dealing with. Android without Google services loses much of its appeal for everyone outside of China.
Users of existing Huawei (and by extension, its sub-brand Honor) devices in the US need not worry, however, as Google has made it clear those devices will be unaffected by this shift. Still, this leaves a lot of unanswered questions for Huawei’s future—both in the US and beyond. But regardless of how it all plays out, one thing is nearly certain: as long as the blacklist stands, it doesn’t end well for Huawei’s business on any front. [The Verge, Android Police, Engadget, Reuters]
In Other News
- AMD wants you to know its chips are safe: AMD is taking advantage of ZombieLoad—the latest vulnerability found in Intel chips—to let users know that its chips are unaffected. Since the fix for these flaws affects performance on Intel chips, AMD is quickly catching up to its biggest rival when it comes to speed. It’s a bad look for Intel, but a great opportunity for AMD. [Engadget]
- Some Pixel 3a devices are randomly shutting down: Users of Google’s new budget-friendly Pixel 3a and 3a XL are reporting random shutdowns when the device is idle. When left unused, the device is becoming unresponsive, requiring a hard reset (pressing the power button for 30 seconds) to get it back up and running. It’s unclear what’s causing the issue or if/when it will get fixed. Oof. [Android Police]
- Linksys routers have been leaking data: Upwards of 21,000 routers from Linksys were found to be leaking Mac addresses, devices names, and more about connected devices. The company has responded, stating that this flaw was from 2014 and has been patched for some time, which points to one cause: outdated routers. Update your hardware, folks. [TechRadar]
- Sony’s PlayStation department didn’t know about the Microsoft deal: Last week, Sony and Microsoft announced that they’re working together on cloud gaming initiatives. As it turns out, employees of Sony’s PlayStation branch reportedly knew nothing about the deal and had a bit of a freak out because of the announcement. That’s kind of hilarious. [Bloomberg]
In news that should shock no one, Google tracks purchases you’ve made by leveraging tools in Gmail to store receipt information. The Assistant tie-ins can’t be disregarded here, though the fact that it reaches back for years—long before Assistant existed—is an interesting consideration. Pair that with the fact that this data is hard to delete and some users are uncomfortable with the practice. The good news is that Google says it doesn’t use this data to sell you ads. You can take a look at your purchases here. [CNBC]
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