Huawei, oh Huawei. The unloved step-child of the phone industry is back in the news after reports surfaced that Huawei is completely banned from being sold in the United States. For a moment, you could hear sighs of relief from Apple and Samsung, as their competition was being silenced in their main customer demographic country. However, Google has a few choice words with the government when it comes to banning Huawei.
Wait – so how does Google fit into all this?
1. Huawei and ARK OS
See, Huawei wasn’t just banned from being sold in the country. The U.S government took it a step further and decreed that Huawei phones will stop receiving Android updates. In the U.S’ defense, they gave Huawei a 90-day adjustment period, so Huawei devices are still receiving updates for the moment. Other than that, yea, Huawei is getting screwed by the United States.
But Huawei has been prepared for this. When the ban was declared by President Donald Trump last month, Huawei responded that they have been creating and adjusting their own OS for their devices, simply known as ARK OS. Is this a completely separate OS or a modified Android? Who knows, but Google doesn’t like the sound of it either way.
2. Google And Security
Google, the distributors of Android, are honestly terrified of the prospect of Huawei having their own modified version of Android. According to Google, Huawei having their own version of Android would allow hacks and security flaws to become more prevalent in the U.S., as Google wouldn’t have any control over the updates that ARK OS receives.
One security expert with Google commented with: “Google has been arguing that by stopping it from dealing with Huawei, the US risks creating two kinds of Android operating system: the genuine version and a hybrid one. The hybrid one is likely to have more bugs in it than the Google one, and so could put Huawei phones more at risk of being hacked, not least by China.”
Adding a third OS already seems like a bad idea just because it may confuse the market, but there being two, maybe-indistinguishable versions of the same OS is just nothing but bad news.
After all, the whole reason that the United States is going after Huawei is because of security concerns. If banning Huawei from using Android causes Huawei to create an unsecure OS, we’ve done nothing but fan the flames of an already-big fire.
3. Is There a Purpose to This?
To someone who hasn’t kept up with the drama surrounding Huawei, all this can seem like political dribble that is stupid and won’t go anywhere, but this case has many consequences for both sides. Huawei argues that the United States is using its political power to target their company, an action that is illegal in the United States. With this in mind, Huawei claims that if the U.S. wins the current lawsuit between them and the U.S., a dangerous precedent that allows the government to target any company they desire.
On the other hand, the U.S. has a legitimate concern with Huawei and their link to the Chinese government. If Huawei truly is sharing data to the Chinese government, that’s clearly a huge breach of privacy and data. With these concerns, the government won’t sit still and let it all happen.
On the deeper side of this fight is the attitude between China and the U.S. It’s clear that both sides are suspicious of each other and that’s been true for a while now. This lawsuit, this ban, and the concern for security is all a result of boiling blood between the two nations that have existed for a while now. Maybe it’s because you can’t have Netflix in China without a VPN? All I know is that this Huawei drama has gone on for way too long.