In recent weeks tensions between China and the United States have been ratcheting up, with firms like Huawei and Tencent caught in the middle as a result.
It has forced the former to look internally for many of the services it once relied on from US companies, resulting in Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) on newer smartphones for example.
On older devices, temporary licences and limited trade seemingly allowed users to continue to receive Android updates, but said licences lapsed over the weekend.
As such, it places greater uncertainty on future updates, and more importantly security patches, for devices that run off of Android.
As for why the licence has been allowed to elapse, the US Commerce Department says that the temporary licences were put in place to assist telecommunications firms in the United States to transition from Huawei, if they had dealings with the company.
It explained in a statement to The Washington Post that the licence served as “an opportunity for users of Huawei devices and telecommunications providers to continue to temporarily operate such devices and existing networks while hastening the transition to alternative suppliers.”
When the publication reached out to Huawei for comment, a spokesperson noted that the company was, “monitoring the situation and assessing the potential impact.”
At this stage, it looks likely that US companies are now prohibited from selling equipment to Huawei. In the case of its smartphones, the likes of Google won’t be able to push updates to devices as needed.
This remains unconfirmed, however, and we’ve reached out to Huawei Mobile South Africa for more clarity on the situation. This as Android is not only the operating system for older devices, but also the framework on which its newer ones are built on.
Once we have feedback, we’ll be sure to share it with our readers.