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Should you buy a Huawei smartphone now?

Huawei logo. Source: Getty

New designs of Huawei smartphones won’t be able to access some Google apps, following Google’s decision yesterday to block the Chinese tech giant from updates to the Android operating system.

Those who already have Huawei smartphones will still be able to update apps and push through security fixes, but that hasn’t stopped worried Huawei owners from selling off their smartphones after Google’s decision.

What actually went down?

The latest move in the China-US trade war has seen President Trump’s administration place Huawei on a list of Chinese companies that America has been barred from trading with, and Google has decided to comply.

According to Yahoo Finance US, the US has continually pointed out Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government, and now the superpower – along with Australia and New Zealand – has banned local firms from using Huawei to provide technology for their 5G networks.

News.com reported Google’s basic services would still function on the Android operating system used in Huawei’s smartphones, and existing smartphone owners wouldn’t lose access to its Google Play app store or security features.

Huawei could actually miss out on software updates for Google’s Android software, and it could even risk losing apps like YouTube.

What does it mean for the smartphone market?

Android makes up a huge portion of the smartphone market, and if new Huawei handsets are prevented from app updates, downloads and security features, this could make it a little tricky for consumers to decide whether to buy one or not, according to Yahoo Finance US.

Most consumers wouldn’t want an Android phone that lacks access to Google Play’s store, so it might be safe to say that now isn’t a good time to own a Huawei.

The verdict?

For Chinese consumers, it’s not a big deal given Google is already banned in the country, but for anyone anywhere else, it’s going to cause some issues.

Huawei will have its own Android operating system as a plan B and they could release that, but US online content creator Matthew Moniz says there will still be the issue of gaining developer support, which hasn’t gone according to plan for Microsoft or Amazon in the past.

And, even if some developers do hop on board, Moniz says the system probably won’t fare well in expensive markets like Europe and North America.

He also says that while the China-US trade war might be resolved in the foreseeable future, Google’s recent axe could have a major impact on consumer confidence in the brand in the future, and maybe even Chinese products as a whole.

Ultimately, given the uncertainty around Huawei right now, it’s best to hold off.

“If you have a Huawei phone, don’t freak out, the Play Store is not being removed,” Moniz says.

“If you’re a consumer, it’s a sad day for all of us. Quite frankly that’s less competition on the market, and it means companies like Samsung and Apple might not feel the need to innovate as fast as they were before.”

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