Huawei

Google is warning Huawei smartphone owners in the U.S. against sideloading Google’s apps on newer “uncertified” Huawei phones, as it could cause security and privacy implications on these phones.

For those unaware, on May 16, 2019, the U.S. government placed Huawei on its Entity List that prohibits all U.S. companies, including Google, from collaborating with Huawei. This means that Google is prohibited from working with Huawei on new device models or providing Google’s apps including Gmail, Maps, YouTube, the Play Store and others for preload or download on these devices.   

According to the official statement released by Google’s Tristan Ostrovski, Legal Director for Android and Play, devices released after May 16, 2019, are not certified under Google’s Play Protect app and would not receive any support from Google. However, all the devices shipped before the ban will continue to receive updates and support from Google. 

While explaining the absence of its services on the new Huawei devices, Ostrowski said, “Our focus has been protecting the security of Google users on the millions of existing Huawei devices around the world. 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. To be clear: US law currently allows Google to only work with Huawei on device models available to the public on or before May 16, 2019.   

“We have continued to receive a number of questions about new Huawei devices (e.g., new models launching now, or earlier models launched after May 16, 2019 but now becoming available in new regions of the world) and whether Google’s apps and services can be used on these devices. We wanted to provide clear guidance to those asking these important questions.

“Because of the government restrictions described above, new Huawei device models made available to the public after May 16, 2019 have not been able to go through this security process nor will they have Play Protect preloaded. As a result, they are considered “uncertified,” and will not be able to utilize Google’s apps and services.”

Additionally, Google also warned users against sideloading Google services like Play Store and Gmail, as the apps may not run reliably exposing devices to further problems. 

“Sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably because we do not allow these services to run on uncertified devices where security may be compromised. Sideloading Google’s apps also carries a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security.”

 If you want to check whether your device is certified, go to the Google Play Store app on your Android phone, tap “Menu” and look for “Settings.” You will see if your device is certified under “Play Protect certification.” You can learn more about the certification on android.com/certified.

In the meantime, the Chinese giant is building the Huawei Mobile Services (HMS). Huawei has developed its own operating system called HarmonyOS, as a replacement to the Google Mobile Services (GMS). The Huawei P40 series expected to arrive March could likely come with HMS. 

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