Chinese electronics giant Huawei currently holds the distinction of being the second-largest smartphone manufacturer in the whole world. Its devices can be found on sale in a wide variety of global markets. But that also makes it a big target in the ongoing trade conflict between the US and China. One tactic being used by President Donald Trump is to label Huawei as a security threat exploitable by the Communist Chinese government, thus discouraging America and its allies from buying smartphones and tech devices from them. As a result, American tech firms are forced to cut development deals with Huawei.
Case in point according to CNN, social media giant Facebook has made an announcement that pursuant to the US government putting Huawei on a product blacklist, they have rescinded permission to allow pre-installation of their mobile app on the Chinese company’s smartphones. In a statement released Friday, June 14, Facebook said it will stop providing software to Huawei for preinstalling mobile app versions of Facebook and its related social media platforms such as Instagram and WhatsApp. To be clear, thus applies only to smartphones that Huawei has yet to distribute to its markets. Existing phones already with owners will not have their preinstalled FB removed. Users can still use and update them without further hassle.
Joining in with the companies in having to part ways with Huawei regarding pre-installed software is Google, which of course co-developed the Android mobile OS line that the Chinese company and many others use. This loss of support means that future Huawei phones will also stop having pre-installed Gmail and other apps in the Google umbrella, including Google Play which is the most common source platform for downloading Android apps. Like with Facebook, already existing smartphones with the pre-installed Google suite will not be affected.
The American position espoused by President Trump has been that Huawei devices have software and hardware backdoors that secretly feed user and public info directly to the government of China, in a widespread case of electronic eavesdropping. It does not help that Huawei Tech Ltd. was founded in 1987 by a former engineering officer of the People’s Liberation Army, which is pointed out by detractors as not helping the manufacturer’s protests that it has no links to the Chinese military and leadership. This delicate position that Huawei is in has forced wireless carriers around the world to cancel launching the company’s latest smartphones and devices.
In light of being cut off from the Google Android ecosystem, Huawei has begun looking into developing its own Android-based MOS, but remains in its position of desiring continuous operational relationships with stateside tech outfits.
Image courtesy of Forbes