The Uptodown Paper
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The Uptodown Paper

Just exactly how fucked is Huawei without Google?

Image by Skil Fibber

Mobile manufacturers’ main problems are not limited to the potential absence of Google Play or its most famous apps — those are the least of their worries.

Google Services actually includes everything from location technology to voice assistant, push notifications, video/audio casting — essentially, a whole series of tools and intelligence that Google uses for Android and that Huawei will have to face building from the ground up.

Even though Google developed Android by taking advantage of Linux and its open source technology, the company has shown many times over that it does not quite share these same values. The layer of proprietary software that’s placed over AOSP (Android Open Source Project), and at the same time empty it, is what makes Android work as seamlessly it does.

The fact that China is the biggest creditor in the US or that it can finish off whole production chains of many products designed there is enough to probably calm the waters, but the damage to Huawei has already been done.

With all the news that consumers will read today they’ll have to decide whether to buy a Huawei with doubts about future upgrades of the operating system. Like if it’ll be riddled with security patches or if it’ll come with an ecosystem of subpar apps. But the most serious thing is that the damage has also been done to Android.

Google has become a “smoking gun” of sorts when it comes to administrative consequences.

  1. It gives free-range to the conspiracy theories that surround the tech giant.

We lack a lot of information, but it is precisely that administrative decision, without many details about how the defense of Huawei works here, and without knowing the details that prohibit even using their services outside the U.S. which makes Google even more ominous.

2. It also spreads fear among other manufacturers already committed to Android.

What guarantees that OnePlus or Xiaomi won’t come to a similar fate?

Google is taking the idea of a transnational, open, globalwide project — with the potential to serve any other company outside of politics — and flushing it down the toilet.

3. This move calls into question the viability of almost any Android-based company, which is now going to depend on the decision of a single company.

What’s more, what would happen if this arbitrariness reaches other services such as web searches.

We’ve always said, Google Services is theirs and they do whatever they want, but I think that when you lean on the community, and so much depends on so few, there is an extra level of responsibility.

Ultimately, to be fair, the fact that mobile manufacturers have dedicated the last few years to blocking their bootloaders, not releasing their drivers or giving support to free distributions such as Lineage have placed them in this situation of absolute dependence.

Developers are also largely to blame, we’ve been warning for years that it is good and necessary that there be alternatives to Google Play. We said time and time again that the more options, the better for consumers, but even today some insist on having their apps only available on Google Play.

Luckily, what recent history has really shown us with this type of ‘protectionist’ decisions is that seeking to lock users into certain platforms and markets, only generates a movement that works precisely against those restrictions. We only hope that although it affects Google, a freer and more open Android will emerge from here on.



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