Huawei phones 'will still work' despite damaging US Google apps ruling
Google and Huawei say that hundreds of thousands of Irish Huawei smartphones will not stop working overnight because of new sanctions.
The tech giants have responded to a new US ruling that means Google will stop providing the Chinese phone giant with crucial technology, including access to its 'Play Store' where all Android apps are downloaded.
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If followed through, the move will be a disaster for Huawei, which is the third biggest phone brand in Ireland and the second largest in the world. It would cripple Huawei smartphones, leaving owners unable to access everyday apps such as YouTube, Gmail, Google Search and Google Maps.
Huawei says that the move is due to kick in with future models and upgrades, although a question mark hangs over whether current Huawei phones can be updated without losing access to all of their apps.
The issue has arisen as part of a trade war between the US and China.
US President Donald Trump issued the order targeting Huawei against the backdrop of worsening industrial relations between the two superpowers.
However, both Huawei and Google say that access to Google apps and its app store will remain in place for the time being.
But the US sanctions mean that the next version of the Android operating system won't be allowed on new Huawei phones. It is not yet clear whether that means current users cannot upgrade without losing access to apps or whether it only affects new models purchased after the new Android version is released.
"While we are complying with all US government requirements, services like Google Play and security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device," said Google in a statement.
It also remains unclear whether other popular US tech services, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Netflix, will also be banned from providing services to Huawei under the same trade war sanctions.
Hardware providers such as Intel and Qualcomm have also been told they must stop providing equipment to the Chinese telecoms company.
Half of Huawei's phone sales are in China, where Google is not allowed to provide its full Android service.
Meanwhile, the broadband provider Siro, which is a joint venture between the ESB and Vodafone, has said that the Huawei tech trade sanctions will not disrupt its rollout plans in big Irish towns despite its use of Huawei networking equipment.
"Our network has not been impacted by recent developments and is not dependent on third-party software updates," said a spokesman.