After US Blacklist, Huawei Weighs Its Options For Phones

Huawei phones

After a blacklist by the United States, Chinese Telecom giant Huawei is considering creating its own operating system for its mobile phones and will also consider alternatives to Google’s Android, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The Huawei ban affects the company’s ability to procure chips, components and it threatens its relationships with software suppliers.

The company said on Tuesday (May 21) that it was talking to Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, on how to move forward after the decision. Google said it would cut access to some of Huawei’s system features for the company’s newest devices.

If Google won’t be available, “then the alternative option will naturally come out — either from Huawei or someone else,” said Abraham Liu, Huawei’s representative to the European Union institutions.

The company has been working on its own operating system, but there’s no timeline as to when it might be ready. Huawei is doing everything it can to lessen the impact of the U.S.’s decision.

The Trump administration put the company on a blacklist and restricted its ability to sell in the U.S. last week amid a trade war and fears of the company facilitating Chinese spying in the U.S.

“Obviously there is a challenge here,” said Liu. “I hope that very soon that the leaders from my consumer business group will be able to share with you our new strategy based on the new situation.”

Huawei phones are powered by Android globally, and it relies on popular Google apps to acquire mobile shoppers. Outside of China, Google services come with search, Maps, Youtube and the Play Store, which allows for app downloading.

On Monday (May 20), the U.S. Department of Commerce granted 90-day relief for certain U.S. broadband companies using Huawei equipment. This means users of Huawei phones will get Android security updates for the next 90 days, but also future phones won’t have Google apps.

“For existing models already in market — there is no major impact,” Liu said of Huawei devices running on Google’s Android. “For the future one, both teams are still working together to figure out what to do.”