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Huawei launches Android 9-based Honor 20 series amid Google ban scare

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 21, 2019  | 20:53 IST

By Prasoon Srivastava London, May 21 (PTI) Chinese telecom player Huawei launched its Honor 20 series of Android-based smartphones Tuesday amid uncertainty over the access to key services of the operating system owned by US-based technology giant Google. Media interactions with Honor President George Zhao, however, were cancelled due to the controversy over Google's plan to cut ties with Huawei, which Washington considers a national security threat. An Honor media team official told PTI that interviews with Zhao were cancelled because "it is a sensitive time" for the brand as well as parent Huawei. The Honor is a sub-brand of Huawei. The company did not cancel the launch of Honor 20 series, based on Android 9 platform, as it is a Google-certified device and the US technology giant has said that it will continue to provide software updates to all existing devices from Huawei group, the official said. Last week, the US government had placed Huawei and its affiliates on a blacklist, a move that essentially bans the Chinese firm from purchasing parts and components from American companies without the US government approval. Google Monday barred Huawei devices from accessing its proprietary services like email and Maps amid the ongoing trade war between the US and China. Pointing out that it had made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world, Huawei said it has worked closely with Android's open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry. "Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally. We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally," it added.  Huawei is likely to lose access to the Android operating system as well as applications like Maps, Gmail and access to Play Store. The latest development is expected to benefit competitors like Samsung and Xiaomi that sell Android phones. In the latest March quarter, Huawei was the second largest smartphone vendor with global shipment of 59.1 million units and 19 per cent market share, behind Samsung that had 71.9 million units shipment (23.1 per cent share), as per research firm IDC.         Counterpoint Research Associate Director Tarun Pathak said the latest development is going to impact the new device sales for Huawei and Honor. India is one of their key countries outside China with almost 4 per cent market share, he added. About 31 million units smartphones were shipped in India during the January-March 2019 quarter with Xiaomi leading the tally with 29 per cent share and followed by Samsung (23 per cent), Vivo (12 per cent), Realme and Oppo (7 per cent each). Pathak said Huawei can always look at using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) but that is unlikely to provide a good consumer experience. "Huawei always put in a lot of effort in integration of hardware and software for a seamless experience. Using AOSP is unlikely to provide a good consumer experience," he said.  AOSP is a version of the Android operating system available through the open source licence. PTI PRS MR MR MR

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