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Huawei Vows to Deliver Android Security Updates After Google Cut-Off

Future Huawei phones may stop using Android

Huawei has promised to continue delivering security updates to existing Android phones and tablets after news broke that Google has suspended business with the Chinese telecommunications giant.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week signed an executive order barring companies from using foreign equipment that could pose a security risk. While Huawei has not been named in the order, the move is widely believed to be part of the Trump administration’s security and economic battle with China.

The United States has been concerned that Huawei might use its equipment to spy for the Chinese government and Washington has been trying to convince allies not to allow Huawei equipment into their new 5G mobile networks.

In response to the latest executive order, several US tech giants have reportedly decided to stop working with Huawei, including Google and chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm and Broadcom.

Google has suspended Huawei’s access to the Android operating system and some services, but that may only impact future devices made by the Chinese firm.

Huawei has promised to continue providing security updates and after-sales services to existing Huawei and Honor phones and tablets, including “those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.”

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry,” Huawei stated.

Google has confirmed that while it’s complying with all requirements of the U.S. government, services such as Google Play and Google Play Protect will continue working on existing devices.

It appears Huawei was not caught off guard as the company claimed it had been preparing for this move from the U.S. The telecoms giant has been developing its own hardware and its own operating system for mobile devices.

With nearly 203 million phones sold last year, Huawei overtook Apple and became the world’s second largest smartphone maker after Samsung.

The Android operating system itself is open source and Huawei can continue using it, but the company will have to provide its own updates to users rather than the updates from Google.

Huawei has been providing monthly security updates for P, Mate, Honor, Nova and Y series devices. These updates have included both patches created by Google and ones made by the company itself.

Related: China's Huawei Sues US Over Federal Ban on Its Products

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.