back to article Huawei new smartphone won't be Mate-y with Google apps as trade sanctions kick in

Google has confirmed that Huawei’s new smartphone, the Mate 30, will not include some of the world’s most popular apps - Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail - as a result of US sanctions. The Middle Kingdom mobe-maker's forthcoming phone is the first smartphone designed to work with next-generation 5G networks and is due to be …

  1. IGotOut Silver badge

    One question.

    Will they be charging extra for a beautiful Googless phones.

    And if desperate, can you stil you still sideload the Play store, like you can with custom ROMs etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One question.

      Should be ok to install Play store, just like the instructions here: https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/07/25/install-play-store-amazon-fire-tablet/

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: One question.

        Should a technically aware person want to sideload the play store, they can probably do so with relative ease. However, that probably won't be as straightforward for the average user, who would have to install the various Google APIs before the store could work. Although it's pretty simple, finding the required files that will run on the hardware involved and installing them properly is just over that line where many won't bother. I can't say whether that will be a problem for Huawei, because we don't quite know how many people will fall into both the categories "don't want to worry about sideloading APKs" and "need apps from the play store". I can say with conviction, however, that should anyone in my family purchase this device and want to use the play store, they'll be asking me to find and install the packages rather than doing it themselves.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One question.

          Yes, it's the APIs that will be the biggest problem. Having worked for a company that made industrial Android phones without Google Play Services, one of the most common support calls began "I just sideloaded this app from the Play Store and it won't work..."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: One question.

            Why did they need to sideload it if it was from the Play Store?

            1. ArrZarr Silver badge

              Re: One question.

              Because the phone didn't come with the Play Store/wouldn't install it.

              And if you're being picky about semantics, then don't be. Users care about semantics in the same way they care about your feelings.

              1. Vector

                Re: One question.

                Last time I had to deal with this issue, it was a pretty easy fix and, according to news reports I've seen elsewhere the same solution is available.

                All the "licensed" software has long been packaged into a package called gapps.apk. Install that and you'll have ALL the Google apps you'd get on any other Android phone. Of course, finding a reliable place to sideload from might well be the biggest problem and that may just lead to a big black eye for the Orange One as people who want the Mate 30 get pwned by malware just because "The Chosen One" wants to beef with China.

        2. alain williams Silver badge

          Re: One question.

          Should a technically aware person want to sideload the play store, they can probably do so with relative ease.

          What is to stop Huawei from providing an app, that the new 'phone owner could run, that does all the set up needed for the 'phone to access the play store ?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: One question.

            Not necessarily Huawei. It's already done by 3rd parties on Chinese app stores, for Chinese phones already without Google applications.

            You just need to trust those......

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: One question.

      That things like Gmail, Maps and YouTube aren't pre-installed is a good thing, for me. I don't have to disable them when I get a new phone.

      No Play Store, not so hot.

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: One question.

        Its a good incentive to distrubute apps via different means. Im sure huawei will write their own appstore and will not charge as much as Google do.

        I hope this wakes people in Europe up to the fact that Google is abusing its monopoly with Play

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: One question.

          Huawei already has its own App Gallery, but it isn't well filled outside of China.

    3. vagabondo
      Linux

      Re: One question.

      Play Store is not necessary. There are alternatives such as Aurora Store available in F-Droid (a free as in open-source android repository) that will get anything from Play Store for you while hiding your device from Google (although the installed app may try to steal and sell your data).

  2. rempant

    Things that weren't mentioned by most news about this

    The things that weren't mentioned by most news about this matter is whether customer buying these phones are able to access the web versions of Google Maps, Gmail and Youtube? While the apps version are definitely superior to the web versions of its service, those web versions as almost as good. Me in particular, sometimes prefer watching youtube videos using a web browser rather than using the phone app because I can skip ads using the web browsers ad-blocking feature.

    If there is no problem accessing the web versions of these services, what Huawei can simply do is preload its upcoming phones with the icons linking to the web versions of the services instead of the apps itself. The rise of PWA(progressive web apps) also mean that in the near future , web apps can be almost as capable of native phone apps.

    No play store? that's not much of a problem too since there are many alternatives out there and Huawei also comes with its own app gallery.

    As a user, I still think that Huawei can still be competitive if they handle this situation wisely.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Things that weren't mentioned by most news about this

      They can definitely access the web apps. It wouldn't be feasible or desirable to block them, and if Google tried (or the U.S. government tried to make Google do it), they'd be facing a lot of legal complaints they couldn't easily counter. So that deals with gmail and youtube easily. This AOSP device should also ship with the default android mail client, which can also connect to gmail easily. It would be able to show the web interface for Google Maps, but that probably won't be so popular given that people use it for in-vehicle navigation, which the web version doesn't really do. However, there are many alternatives for that, including some open source ones from FDroid that work pretty well.

      No access to the play store might be harder to get around, as most users aren't attracted to a phone where they can't as easily install any app they want. It's no trouble for us, because many, including me, don't have any play store apps installed and don't find the prospect of having to sideload something worrying. But for those who want to be able to quickly type the name of their mobile game of choice, they might find that feature removal irritating.

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      "are able to access the web versions of Google Maps, Gmail and Youtube?"

      You mean from China or from somewhere else? <G>

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Things that weren't mentioned by most news about this

      Me in particular, sometimes prefer watching youtube videos using a web browser rather than using the phone app because I can skip ads using the web browsers ad-blocking feature.

      I've been finding that too. Especially with YouTube's insistence on the pop-over "another video you might want to watch" ABOMINATIONS. Seriously, I'm watching *THIS* video, I'll get to the next one **when I'm done**. And all too often some specific bit you're trying to watch in that video has now been obscured by that fecking "next video" card.

      If Huawei doesn't make an alternative YT player, SOMEONE needs to. Maybe make it SJW-relevant and call it "MeToo(b) Player".

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Things that weren't mentioned by most news about this

        "If Huawei doesn't make an alternative YT player, SOMEONE needs to."

        Install fdriod then download one of the many open source ones.

        I like NewPipe. Very fast and a clean interface.

    4. Wild Elk

      Re: Things that weren't mentioned by most news about this

      Not having GApps should be the least of any potential buyer’s worries. Without the play store, essential apps like banking, health/fitness, education amongst other apps will make things cumbersome for users and side loading apks could lead to malware exposure.

      It’s a mucky situation and wouldn’t recommend anyone purchase this device unless Huawei can come up with convincing user friendly alternatives.

  3. _LC_ Silver badge
    Stop

    Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

    Remember when it came out that Microsoft’s own software did use undocumented APIs, giving them an advantage over everybody else (it still does)? Google’s apps do just the same. They are "non-standard" in many ways and create tons of problems when you have to deal with them.

    Screw Microsoft and screw Google! I hope we can rid us of both of them quickly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

      What are the undocumented APIs, that Google are using, you are talking about?

      Surely you can't mean Google APIs from Play Services as they have pretty extensive documentation?

      1. _LC_ Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

        You are telling me that the API for the Play Store/Services is well documented. I'm telling you that roses are red and sometimes white or even pink.

        Learn to read.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

          The question was "What are the undocumented APIs, that Google are using, you are talking about?"

          You haven't said what these are (or even why you think they are using undocumented APIs) just provided a curious reply regarding anthology.

          1. _LC_ Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

            That's the wrong way round, hence the 'learn how to read'. The Google Apps are using undocumented API calls. This is like Microsoft does and did it.

            Are you a troll?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

              And still you haven't said what those undocumented API calls are?

              I have a feeling you don't actually know what an API is or what an API call is ... hmmm.

              You can try to be patronising as much as you want, but if you don't even understand the subject you are talking about then it would pay to realise you may be talking rubbish.

              1. _LC_ Silver badge

                Re: Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

                Here comes the anonymous prankster again: "And still you haven't said what those undocumented API calls are?".

                My, my - we've found a new Sherlock right there.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

                  Brilliant, so you know they are using undocumented API calls but you can't say what they are and now you seem to think undocumented = unknown. Maybe you don't even understand the term undocumented or maybe you should have said unknown in the first place.

                  So I'll paraphrase what you are saying as you don't seem to want to elaborate ... "I think Google are using some unknown API which only they know about, despite AOSP being open source and it being very easy to monitor Android Intents and the deconstruct APKs, and the fact that manufacturers compile their own version of the Android and Davlik engine. The reason I think this is because Microsoft did it and were found out and I don't like Google".

                  You really don't know what you are talking about, do you? There was I actually thinking you had some details about Google doing this. Oh well carry on then, nothing to see here...

                  1. _LC_ Silver badge
                    Stop

                    Re: Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

                    Using a search engine is beyond your capabilities?

                    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2008/11/google-admits-to-using-undocumented-api-in-google-mobile-app/

                    https://www.engadget.com/2008/11/26/google-yeah-we-did-use-undocumented-api-so-what

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

                      Oh, jeez. Did you actually bother to read those articles???

                      From 2008, Goole used an undocumented API in *Apple's iOS*. It wasn't an undocumented Google API ffs.

                      Are you that much of a cretin, that you don't understand the difference? This is Google taking advantage of an undocumented API that Apple have hidden!!!

                      So are you now going to explain how "They are "non-standard" in many ways and create tons of problems when you have to deal with them."?

                      Talk about trolling...jeez. Looks like there is only one person who needs to "Learn to Read" and get some basic comprehension about what they are writing, before attempting to comment.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Google has become a lot like Microsoft in that respect

      It's also a handy workaround for manufacturers not keeping their phones up to date. So even though Morotrola won't update the core OS, my phone has an uptodate browser and access to all the new features in play services.

  4. Velv
    Pirate

    Unofficial Play Store

    Would be a shame if someone reliable set up a "walled garden" Play Store in another country. Something that ensured only official versions of Apps were made available, but wasn't subject to the trade restrictions currently in place.

    Don't Google have a presence in Ireland? And Luxembourg? And Switzerland? And the Caymen Islands? Lots of places with tight privacy laws and good connections.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unofficial Play Store

      You've not been following news closely enough if you believe those privacy laws still offer protection against the global reach of US laws.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-secrecy/era-of-bank-secrecy-ends-as-swiss-start-sharing-account-data-idUSKCN1MF13O

      https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/29/us-court-microsoft-personal-data-emails-irish-server

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Unofficial Play Store

        That kind of cooperation can end as soon as it began. Laws should end at national boundaries, while we still have them*

        *which I don't think we will for long, which is a good thing provided boris the tosser and trump aren't in charge

  5. Warm Braw Silver badge

    This is more of a problem for Google than for Huawei

    At least in the long run, that is. Huawei have the second largest share of the mobile market after Samsung so they're not a niche manufacturer whose volume can quickly be replaced by other brands.

    The only app that requires significant investment is for mapping. It's not a technical issue, but a logistical issue in terms of acquiring map data from a lot of sources and giving it a homogeneous veneer. That will take time and money, but Huawei at least have the money - and Apple survived its first efforts being rather hit-and-miss.

    Given that downloading from the Play Store is roughly equivalent to throwing a grappling hook into a cesspit in terms of knowing what you're going to get, not having it is a positive advantage.

    Even if they keep the slurpage, but keep it away from Google, it's still a consumer win.

    1. The Dogs Meevonks

      Re: This is more of a problem for Google than for Huawei

      "Huawei have the second largest share of the mobile market after Samsung so they're not a niche manufacturer whose volume can quickly be replaced by other brands."

      Yet I've never met a single person in the UK who has ever owned one of their phones, has ever considered getting one of their phones... In fact the majority of people I've ever had conversations with about various phones... haven't really heard of them outside of perhaps spotting an occasional add on the telly.

      I'd be interested in knowing what their market penetration is outside of the middle kingdom and/or Asia in comparison to the rest of the world.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is more of a problem for Google than for Huawei

        Have an Honor 10 here - great phone, made by Huawei

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: This is more of a problem for Google than for Huawei

          It's not a stupid question. Huawei makes a lot of phones for the Chinese market and is making money hand over fist in that market. We all know that. But this Google services cut doesn't really hurt that at all, since China has blocked almost all of Google's services anyway for a decade or more. I'd be concerned that they'd lose market share in China if they dropped AOSP for their own custom and untested OS, but if they stick with effectively the same code as they used before, that's clearly not going to happen.

          So the major question is how much it will hurt Huawei's ability to sell their phones overseas, and establishing their current market share in various places is a necessary first step to accurately calculating that. And for some countries, their market share is very low, such that it wouldn't be easy to tell if they've lost many customers. For the record, from statistics I found online, and I'm going to have to trust that the internet has correct data on this, Huawei's market share by country is basically this:

          Italy: 24.4%

          Russia: 14.1%

          France: 13.2%

          Mexico: 12%

          U.K.: 8.1%

          Australia: 7.1%

          Japan: 4.3%

          Canada: 3.8%

          India: ~2%, noted to be falling quickly

          U.S.: very low, doesn't show on graph

          Brazil: very low, doesn't show on graph

          Based on these figures, we can see that it's quite logical to ask about the current market share of Huawei by country. If they lose lots of business in Italy due to the services cut, it's much worse for them than if they lose business in Brazil. Americans probably don't see many Huawei devices when out and about, while Russians probably do. And in addition to the mathematical benefits, it gives us a concept of where Huawei does business and where it has yet to take over. I think the question's well worth the asking.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: This is more of a problem for Google than for Huawei

        UK?

        Is that the nation with half the population of Germany, and 1/9 the population of EU, that is soon to break up and leave the EU?

        That important nation?

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: This is more of a problem for Google than for Huawei

          UK population 67.5M, German population 83M. Half?

          But yes, people in the UK do have Huawei phones.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Huawei have the second largest share of the mobile market after Samsung"

      Sure - and will they be able to keep it without Android - and its existing app ecosystem, beyond map apps? MS too failed in creating a third ecosystem. Maybe Huawei can try to build on the existing Chinese one, but those apps may be quite useless abroad.

    3. Barry Rueger

      Re: This is more of a problem for Google than for Huawei

      The only app that requires significant investment is for mapping

      Nope, just translation. Although even people in China moan about not having Google maps, Baidu seems to have decent maps available in Mandarin, and I believe WeChat also offers maps.

      I would not for a moment bet against Huawei in this battle. Their hardware is top-notch, and China really understands the whole mobile services thing.

      Aside from that, doesn't Amazon still have an app store?

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: This is more of a problem for Google than for Huawei

        Why is everyone banging on about Google maps.

        Here Maps is free, has regular map updates, does live traffic, camera locationd and can be used fully offline.

        And yoy can also choose if you want to feed location data back or not

    4. bazza Silver badge

      Re: This is more of a problem for Google than for Huawei

      Also Huawei has the resources to provide alternative services, and make them stick. In the end it might mean people outside the US stop using Google and start using Chinese services instead...

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    If you aren't technical enough to side load Gapps on to a Mate 30 then do doubt ebay, Amazon sellers and a whole host of small independent phone shops will be selling them with it already done for you.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "screw you, we'll build our own"

    And so it starts. In time, China will have its own Maps and Play Store, and maybe its own phone OS, and there will be competition and, I'm guessing, it will be fierce.

    Good. Consumers will win. At least this trade war debacle will have served that as a long-term bonus.

    1. The Dogs Meevonks

      Re: "screw you, we'll build our own"

      I think it'll just divide the market further, China will essentially have it's own mobile OS dominating the market and the rest of the western world will remain with IOS and Android.

      Seeing as these companies are desperately trying to expand further into places like China where there's still large growth potential, as opposed to the RotW where it's slowed to a crawl... This is only hurting their bottom line because of the fuckwit in chief having his regular daily tantrum.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "are desperately trying to expand further into places like China"

        Yes, but you can only expand in China by playing by the authoritarian Chinese government rules - so maybe they can't complain too much if the authoritarian Trump acts the same way... autocrats can only collide.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Google?

    What could possibly go wong?

  9. The Dogs Meevonks

    I've been wondering (as I've only ever seen it in writing) if the 'new' OS is pronounced "Har Mo Nee O S" or "Har Mo Nee US" (as in Harmonius) as a dig at both the US and Google.

    1. Wild Elk

      I think you’re reading too much into something insignificant.

  10. MJI Silver badge

    Hurt Google more than Huawei?

    An alternatve Android with no Google could hit Google more than Huawei.

    Huge company and all it needs is a store with the apps many people want.

    How long would it take to degoogle an app to go onto Huawei store?

    Take a smaller commision, push it to big name app writers. Could be interesting.

    1. hj

      Re: Hurt Google more than Huawei?

      The degoogling would not be the biggest challenge, getting popular android apps an board will. Huawei can make a good messenger app, but if it doesn't talk to whatsapp, nobody is going to use it... And seeing how low the penetration in western countries is, that may take a lot of persuasion from Huawei...

  11. Nifty Silver badge

    Amazon Fire Tablet Experience

    To get an idea of how the new Huawei phone will be like to use, try setting up a Fire tablet for Google Play apps.

    It's a bit of a faff but acceptable for tech-heads. You don't know if the files needed will be up there for long though and if they are up to date enough.

    Then when installing apps, some mysteriously just don't work. Examples I have are eBay and myTuner.

    There are workarounds - use Chrome for eBay and a different radio app. But would I not invest anything other than bargain-basement money into hardware that needs this faff-around.

  12. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    fixed

    The phone also won’t have access to the Google Play store to download other apps, making the phone significantly less more usable than equivalent smartphones on the market

    There, FTFY

  13. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    Slightly older

    I'm off to Argos to pick up up an Honor 10 lite for my daughters birthday present this evening. For some unknown reason the 9 lite has gone up £40 since I bought mine and is now only £10 cheaper than the newer 10? Figure that one out...

    Anyway I can assume that the updates for the 10 will be as good as the 9 that gets monthly security updates and is on the latest version of Android. Pretty good considering that my brand new Galaxy S7 (insurance replacement) is seriously lagging behind in that department.

    The Huawei store works, has some apps that are on the play store but I haven't really used it. Blocking Huawei is only going to hurt Google in the long run once people realise that that the alternatives are viable.

  14. Jim-234

    So an android phone without the built in google spyware?

    So if I understand this right the result of the sanctions is that Huawei has to produce an Android phone Without the google spyware?

    Is it possible they also are going to be forced to make the phone without all the Facebook spyware as well?

    They can rebrand it as the new privacy aware phone.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: So an android phone without the built in google spyware?

      They also cannot preinstall the Facebook app, so you get your wish there. Unfortunately, we have no guarantee that they haven't just replaced the Google and Facebook spyware with spyware from anyone else, whether Huawei or someone else they got money from. Though it's probably at least a little bit more private than what Huawei used to ship, I'm still going to recommend an open source variant like Lineage OS for real, verifiable privacy.

  15. dca1

    Surely Huawei can just facilitate the user adding these?

    Could there not be an app installed on the phone which pulls the various gapps at the users request? Nothing on the phone at time of delivery, Google Apps are only installed once the user chooses to do so. No clue if there is an official location where Play Store and Google Play Services can be downloaded from though.

    1. vagabondo

      Re: Surely Huawei can just facilitate the user adding these?

      The Play Store app is not required. Just install one of the apps (like Aurora store) that gets apps from Play Store for you without requiring a Google user account. These can be found in the open-source F-Droid store.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Surely Huawei can just facilitate the user adding these?

        What you need to consider is that none of the proprietary Google APIs are present, meaning most apps in the play store, along with the play store itself, won't work. You'd have to sideload those APIs first, which is doable, but you have to find versions of them somewhere (they're not on FDroid), then load them in the proper order and with some special requirements. Doable, but not without some technical knowledge and having to trust a source of the packages.

        1. vagabondo

          Re: Surely Huawei can just facilitate the user adding these?

          @doublelayer

          I have had an Android phone (Moto G4+) for a few years and have never had to “sideload” anything. Aurora seems to take care of installing apps that other stores struggle with. I have not tried any Google apps (and disabled or removed the default ones), but Play Services, Carrier Services, Chrome etc. seem to be available

          I use open source equivalents for browsing, maps, telephony, two-factor-authentication etc. Anonymising app stores supply useful proprietary apps such as DuckDuckGo, hardware controllers, travel timetables, news subscription and shopping.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Surely Huawei can just facilitate the user adding these?

            This proves my point. You have a phone with the required APIs, and all the apps work. Huawei's phone won't have those. Almost all of the apps from FDroid will work perfectly. Many of the apps on the play store will also work perfectly when sideloaded or retrieved from the store by one of the apps you mentioned. However, if an app uses Play Services or another one of Google's proprietary APIs, and many do, the app won't work when installed. It will install properly, but when you try to launch it, it will reach a point where it crashes or doesn't work properly. In order to fix that, a user has to install the required APIs. These exist, but they're not listed on FDroid or in the Play Store itself as Google thinks they've been shipped as part of the default firmware. So the user will have to look for the APKs online, find the versions that run on their hardware, and install them in the correct order. I have no doubt that, when this phone is released, someone will create those APKs and publish them in a matter of days. Users will just have to find an uninfected copy of those and install them correctly. As I said, it's doable, but not without effort.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And if Huawei allowed unlocked bootloaders

    There would be a lot more of their phones with AOSP custom ROMs.

    1. _LC_ Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: And if Huawei allowed unlocked bootloaders

      ... and masses of paid people breaking phones deliberately in an attempt to hurt the competition. That's how the mob in the US works.

      You can still root your Huawei phones. When you do, it's on your own risk, however.

      As long as there are companies and secret services that work with mafia methods, you can't afford such liberties. They would be their downfall if they did.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: And if Huawei allowed unlocked bootloaders

        I don't understand your comment. Are you alleging that locked bootloaders are there to protect us from criminals and surveillance systems? If you are, that's pretty laughable. People steal phones all the time. Most of the time, they don't care about the data and are perfectly happy to reflash the device and sell it on. Even if they could replace the firmware with something else, the phone's serial numbers, IMEI, etc would still be present so the phone would be just as easy to identify as stolen. They don't need to care about the bootloader, only whatever antitheft mechanism the manufacturer has. A good antitheft mechanism doesn't have to be incompatible with an unlocked bootloader; a solution as easy as "Please enter phone's encryption unlock code before the bootloader starts" would serve perfectly.

        As for surveillance states, they really care about the data on the phone. Not the hardware itself, just the data. There are only really two ways they go about getting data from a device:

        Method 1: They have a phone, and they want to extract all its data but the data is encrypted. In that case, they don't need to replace the firmware, because doing that would wipe out data they need (either all the user data or at least the key used to extract it). They might try to copy the old firmware so they can retry encryption codes, but the antitheft system I described above would hamper them from doing so.

        Method 2: They have a phone briefly, and they want to install malware on it to track a user who will use the device in the future. In this case, the last thing they'll do is to replace the firmware. If anything looks different, they'll be caught and the person they're tracking will dump the device. They'll use the tracking software they can install above the firmware level, which can be deployed much more quickly. In either case, a properly encrypted device will prevent them.

        1. _LC_ Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: And if Huawei allowed unlocked bootloaders

          They are there to protect the company from "unlawful" competitors. Those could simply break the devices and ask for refunds in masses.

          I didn't read most of your comment, as you obviously didn't read mine.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: And if Huawei allowed unlocked bootloaders

            I was responding to "As long as there are companies and secret services that work with mafia methods, you can't afford such liberties. They would be their downfall if they did." Clearly, I misinterpreted it. I misinterpreted it because what you've clarified sounds a bit crazy. Do you have evidence of someone who actually did that? Because other than overworking the company tech support as they reflash their devices, the criminals doing that wouldn't gain anything at all. You only get to claim a refund if the device is manufactured with defects, not if you've deliberately destroyed it.

            You don't see, for example, people throwing phones on the ground then shipping the destroyed remnants back and asking for money, because that wouldn't work. And a locked bootloader doesn't really protect against that in any case, because if you really want to render a device unusable, intentionally uploading a corrupted ROM is a relatively time-intensive and very reversible method, I.E. one of the worst options for available frauds. Furthermore, unless you can point to a place that did this, it's a weird argument to make.

            I'm sorry that I gave you credit for an argument you didn't make. I thought you were talking about accessing data or preparing a device for resale, because that's the major undesirable thing that criminals do to phones. I apologize for assuming you also considered this aspect, but I believe we are now on the same page. What book this page is in is another question, but one that can wait.

            1. _LC_ Silver badge

              Re: And if Huawei allowed unlocked bootloaders

              Huawei used to allow unlocking of the boot loader in an easy fashion. Why do you think they stopped? In the campaign against Huawei, can't you see mafia methods? Was there anything legitimate in this campaign so far? There's your answer.

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: And if Huawei allowed unlocked bootloaders

                No, I can't see those at all. I can see a pointless ban by the American government as part of a trade war, nothing else. I don't support that, but just because some people somewhere chose to paint the company as a security risk when they're not, that doesn't make every other possibility true. You've claimed that people are out there bricking devices with intentionally damaged firmware and then claiming refunds, but you can't point to who is doing it or when it's happened. In addition, it's completely illogical.

                It'd be similar to saying "There are people out there who go into stores, steal the batteries from phones that have replaceable batteries, and replace them with lookalikes that also contain a tracking function and can be primed to explode if the people who built the replacements want to turn the phones into explosives. Therefore, we should not allow replaceable batteries." That statement and yours are similar in that A) nobody is doing that, B) if someone did do that, it'd be completely pointless, and C) if people did do that for whatever reason, the suggested course of actions would not stop them.

                1. _LC_ Silver badge

                  Re: And if Huawei allowed unlocked bootloaders

                  I didn't think this topic would be considered "sensitive". However, since the chain dogs were obviously left off the leash, they seem to be already wound up this high. That's a good sign. :-)

  18. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Huawei will continue to use the Android OS and ecosystem if the US government allows us to do so ...

    Hey, Trump, this is called shooting yourself in the foot, or - in your case - the mouth.

  19. Azerty

    Finally an alternative

    "unless you want to tip-toe through unofficial and under-regulated app souks. "

    Finally there is a chance the ugly monopoly is broken and we are allowed to use a phone free from those monopoly services as the European community is craving for years. But what says ElReg editor about it? Compared to the google app store that is teaming with malware he scares us the alternative must be under-regulated.

  20. Jason Hindle

    This is Google’s problem to somehow swerve

    Trump has created the conditions for none American alternatives to Google to emerge. I can’t imagine Google being terribly happy with that.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customer choice = fragmentation ?

    It's not impossible to forsee a host of app stores popping up within the Huawei landscape. Maybe some requiring a paid subscription, or joining fee in exchange for guaranteed (by contract if not by technology) access to malware-free apps ?

    Google isn't so big it can't become history in five years. Younger readers need to look at the companies that are no longer with us that were too big to fail.

    I wonder if many US companies are so keen on "disruptors" when they aren't American ?

    1. Chet Mannly

      Re: Customer choice = fragmentation ?

      There are already alternative app stores like Amazon available that you can install.

      I'd frankly like a googleless phone!

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