Huawei can’t launch new Android smartphones with Google apps before May 2021 as Trump extends trade ban
The last few smartphones launched by Huawei and its sub-brand Honor don’t come with Google Mobile Services (GMS) or the Google Play Store. Instead, they feature Huawei’s own alternatives to these services, namely Huawei Mobile Services Core (HMS Core) and Huawei AppGallery. This is due to the fact that on May 15th, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13873, declaring a “national emergency” under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, in order to limit the ability of U.S. companies to do business with entities deemed to be national security threats, including Huawei and its subsidiaries. The executive order was scheduled to lapse this month, however, a recent report from Reuters reveals that it has now been extended for another year.
The report states that on May 13th, 2020, Trump re-signed the executive order, continuing its effectiveness for 1 year, until May 15th, 2021. In an official statement released on the White House website, President Donald Trump was quoted saying, “For this reason, the national emergency declared on May 15, 2019, must continue in effect beyond May 15, 2020. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13873 with respect to securing the information and communications technology and services supply chain.”
When the original executive order went into effect, Huawei and its many subsidiaries were added to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Entity List. This barred Google from signing new MADAs (Mobile Application Distribution Agreements) with Huawei to distribute GMS (Google Mobile Services) on new Huawei and Honor devices released after May 15th, 2019.
The full scope of this ban never went into effect, though, as the U.S. granted Huawei a Temporary General License (TGL) to do limited business with U.S. companies (and this TGL was extended several times over the last year). Thanks to this TGL, Huawei can continue to ship GMS on its existing Huawei and Honor branded smartphones. Reuters points out that this TGL will be extended yet again, stating that “The U.S. Commerce Department is also expected to extend again a license, set to expire on Friday, allowing U.S. companies to keep doing business with Huawei, a person briefed on the matter said.”
As mentioned earlier, due to the original trade ban Huawei has been developing alternatives to Google Mobile Services and Google Play Store — HMS Core and AppGallery. The company has released new devices without GMS — the Huawei Mate 30 series, Huawei P40 series, and the Honor 30 series just to name a few — and is continuing to design new SoCs based on their existing license agreements with ARM — Kirin 990, Kirin 810, and Kirin 820. Lastly, Huawei has also been able to partially sidestep the U.S. trade ban by re-releasing devices into the market that maintain software compatibility with already certified devices.