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Android Deactivation Fallout: Huawei Phones Lose Access To Install Android Apps

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Bloomberg reported that Huawei Technologies on Tuesday lost their access to manually install Google’s Android apps.

Ever since it broke out that Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone would not have access to Google’s services due to the US trade ban, a lot of people got curious about how the decision would affect sales and how the tech firm would react. After the unveiling event, however, somebody found a way to Install Google services via a back door and raised an alarm for others to benefit. Users of Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro were able to download and install Google apps despite the blacklisting that bans the Chinese tech firm from using American components and software.

Nevertheless, the Mate 30 devices designed to work on new 5G mobile networks lost their clearance to manually install Android apps, a number of smartphone experts reported.

Read more: Google Pulls Huawei’s Android License, Forcing It To Use Open Source Version

The Mate 30 is the first flagship smartphone to be launched by Huawei Technologies since the US placed a ban that took effect in May 2019, alleging that the company is involved with activities that put sensitive parts of the US at risk.

John Wu, a security researcher wrote a blog post on the widespread method to install Google service on newly launched Huawei devices. He said in the blog post that installing Google’s services relies on undocumented Huawei specific mobile device management application programming interface. He said:

“Although this backdoor requires user interaction to be enabled, the installer app, which is signed with a special certificate from Huawei, was granted privileges nowhere to be found on standard Android systems…The system framework in Huawei’s operating system has a backdoor that allows permitted apps to flag some user apps as system apps despite the fact that it does not actually exist on any read-only partitions.”

This backdoor process allows the Mate 30 phones to access popular apps like Gmail and Google Maps that would not have been originally permitted.

Huawei had disclosed in August that its new operating system, Harmony will replace the Android operating systems in Huawei devices. The Group CEO, Richard Yu had said at the time that the operating system could be deployed and used at anytime if android becomes inaccessible to Huawei devices.  

However, it still relies on Google’s Android in every way.  From the developers’ point of view, it will not be easy to bring their apps and services to the end users, monetise their work quickly. Aside from this, Huawei will not be the first company to launch an open source platform. Blackberry, Microsoft and Samsung did the same but couldn’t attract patronage from phone users regardless of their popularity.

Google and Huawei are yet to respond to the happenings.

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