Google Warns Against Sideloading Android Apps On Huawei Phones

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Huawei is preparing new devices for 2020. Google, however, is getting ahead of it, warning against sideloading Android apps on Huawei phones.

Google warns against sideloading Android apps on Huawei phones

Google's warning comes as a result of questions from the Android community about Google apps and upcoming Huawei phones. Google published a post in the Android Help Community titled "Answering your questions on Huawei devices and Google services." In the post, the search engine giant says the following:

"We have continued to receive a number of questions about Huawei devices (e.g., new models launching now, or earlier models launched after May 16, 2019 but now becoming available in new regions of the world) and whether Google's apps and services can be used on these devices. We wanted to provide clear guidance to those asking these important questions. Due to government restrictions, Google's apps and services are not available for preload or sideload on new Huawei devices."

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The last statement about preloading and sideloading Android on Huawei is bold in the company post. The bold font here matches the spirit of its original context.

Google's response is clear: government restriction forbids Google from allowing its apps and services on Huawei phones.

Why Android app sideloading is not allowed

Android app sideloading on Huawei phones is illegal because Huawei is on the US Entity List. As such, Google, as a federal company, cannot do business with Huawei. Huawei is no longer eligible for new Android system updates, nor can its 2020 devices use Google's Android apps. In fact, Google cannot allow its apps for preloading or sideloading on Huawei phones as a result. To allow Huawei phone users to easily sideload apps would see Google in trouble with the US and possibly in a ban of its own.

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The best evidence for Google's decision to restrict Android app access to Huawei phones comes by recalling an event from last Fall. Back in October, site LZPlay.net allowed app sideloading for Huawei phones. After the bootleg access was touted some days as the answer to Huawei users' prayers, Google quickly removed Huawei phones from SafetyNet test approval. SafetyNet checks devices to see if they pass the safety test; if not, they are denied access to Android apps.

Huawei Ban: the context for governmental restriction on Huawei phones

On May 19, 2016, US President Donald Trump forbade Huawei from buying and selling in the US. Huawei's phones and mobile devices cannot update in the US without a special license from the Trump administration, or a reprieve of some sort. This is why Google responded just a few days later by revoking Huawei's Android license. The Android license revocation removed Huawei from Google's Android partners list and removed the company's devices from getting new Android system updates.

The first reprieve for Huawei from the Trump administration gave the company 90 days (3 months) to update its Android devices. With the Trump Ban instituted in May, Huawei was given a license to continue updating its devices through November 19th. A second 90-day reprieve just expired a few days ago. The US is giving Huawei an additional 45 days, half the time of the previous two extensions.

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As long as the ban remains in effect, Huawei devices are no longer eligible for Google's Android. Huawei still utilize the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), but it cannot preload or sideload Google apps on its phones.

The Trump administration isn't looking to tone down the Ban. This means that Huawei won't see political relief any time soon. Rather than let up on Huawei, the US is taking new measures to further restrict it. First, the US is removing Huawei telecom equipment from small carriers, subsidizing new equipment in place of Huawei gear. Next, the US is considering investments in two alternative telecom makers, Nokia and Ericsson. The US is pushing Samsung as the best Huawei alternative in Europe.