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Huawei

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
I suppose you read the news that Google (actually, Alphabet, its parent company) is cutting off Huawei's access to Android. Things are not that simple, however.

But first: why is this important?

Let me give some figures. There are about 2 billions smartphones on this planet. Smartphones make over 60% of total web access. Android has over 75% market share (more in 3rd world countries) and Huawei is the third smartphone manufacturer by volume (behind Samsung and Apple, close to Apple).

Since this is a photography forums: there are about 1600 smartphones sold for each camera sold. It is a big industry.

All this means big money. If google was a country, it would be about the 80th richest. Google has also a quasi monopoly on android, at least outside of China. The only commercial competition on Android is Amazon with its fire tablet and Amazon app store and not really relevant (but important for context). Google was fined over 4 billions Euros by the EU for monopoly practices regarding Android.

And then the US president forced google to cut off Huawei's access to Android. Obviously, google would not have cut off access to its second licensee by volume without external pressure.

But what does it exactly mean to "cut off Huawei's access to Android"? Isn't Android open source and therefore free to use for any one? In the next post.
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
It is possible to use Android without google. As noted, Amazon is doing just that for their tablets. It is also common in China (as the Chinese government does not like dependencies on foreign firms...). Hackers also have issued google free android versions to be installed on several common phones (under the name LineageOS, mainly). The core, open source, Android is called Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and Huawei can still use that.

I have been using Android without google on a tablet and more recently on a phone, so what are the limitations?

You can still use google services like search, gmail, youtube, maps as these can be simply used in a browser or in a standard mail program.
There are open source (free) software for several common uses: browsers, mail, but also use maps, take pictures, play videos and music, calendar and appointments, note taking and of course phone and messages.
There are alternative app "stores" for software: fdroid for the free software above, but also commercial app "stores": Amazon (as seen above) but also aptoide (generic), yandex (Russia, yes the Russian government also managed to be independent from Google)... actually, even Huawei has its own "store".

Were is the limitation? The limitation is that the google "store" has a monopoly on several applications the public wants. Your bank app, for example: the typical EU or US bank is not going to put their app on any other "store". They just don't want to bother with a minimal market share. Same for video or music streaming services. Or several of the more popular games. Moreover, the google version of Android is something they can trust (and maybe something you should not) as they can control what your phone allows you to do.

The general public does not want the limitations of open source software. They simply want a phone with dancing lights. They want it cheap, they don't realise the price they are paying in privacy. Monopolies never come cheap, remember that 4 billions Euros fine? That was for Europe only.

But now, according to the will of the US president, the second Android phone manufacturer is cut from that google "store". What can possibly happen?

Frankly, I don't know. Maybe Huawei will cave it and make a deal. It is a big market they will lose. Maybe they will not cave in and build a real alternative. In that case, the US president would achieve what the EU commission did not manage: cut down Google's monopoly on that market of 2 billions users.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Yes, Jerome,

You have made a great case for our attention!

So now, what does the US want ....and what are the various explanation/motivation “claims” from your best bet and insight?

Asher
 

James Lemon

Active member
People couldn't care less about billion $ companies thieving from each other so long as they get their cheap crap.
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
So now, what does the US want ....and what are the various explanation/motivation “claims” from your best bet and insight?
If I could predict the US policies (or in that case what is in the US president head...), I would be immensely rich. Yet, I am not.

But it seems that US politicians are worried about China raising in power and replacing them.

BTW: you are old enough to remember the cold war and how the world was split between 3 super-power. Here is the world map of social networks by popularity:

 

Peter Dexter

Well-known member
In my neck of the woods Colombians are very concerned about this development as Huawei is hugely popular for i't affordability.
 

Michael Nagel

Active member
In some way I am afraid that this ends like the time when the US government blocked the exportation of Intel processors for an upgrade of the Tianhe-2 supercomputer resulting in the construction of the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer based on domestic processors.
This will be the start of another ecosystem for smartphones. It will not arrive immediately, but it will arrive.
The ban seems to get larger. There is a more than remote possibility that it will start a development similar to the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer.

Interesting times...
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Then folk will seize the opportunity to run all the various smartphone OS virtually on the more robust processor-memory platforms.

Ideally we need to be able to falsify personal data or hit one button before passing airport customs/security to lock or erase all private information. I would actually want to utterly clean the phone of data so it is impossible to recover!

A man coming to the USA was deported at his expense after the security read his letters that they interpreted as “intent” to settle in with his USA, girlfriend and love of his life!

Asher
 

James Lemon

Active member
Then folk will seize the opportunity to run all the various smartphone OS virtually on the more robust processor-memory platforms.

Ideally we need to be able to falsify personal data or hit one button before passing airport customs/security to lock or erase all private information. I would actually want to utterly clean the phone of data so it is impossible to recover!

A man coming to the USA was deported at his expense after the security read his letters that they interpreted as “intent” to settle in with his USA, girlfriend and love of his life!

Asher
Asher
You always could use a hammer.
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
This will be the start of another ecosystem for smartphones. It will not arrive immediately, but it will arrive.
The ecosystem already exists... in China as the google play store is not available in China. That is the essential news one does not see in the western press. The western press gives a very US and EU centric vision of the smartphone market, but the situation in Asia and Africa is quite different. In Russia, yandex is also a real alternative.

This article argues that Huawei was already busy extending their existing ecosystem into Europe. Maybe that is part of the reason for the ban. OTOH, all attempts to build an alternative smartphone application ecosystem to the google/apple duopoly in US/EU have failed commercially. The only notable alternative is Amazon with their fire tablets, but they don't sell smartphones.
 
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Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Ideally we need to be able to falsify personal data or hit one button before passing airport customs/security to lock or erase all private information.
Deleting the data after customs asked for access would probably qualify as a severe offense and put you into prison. Locking the data is useless, as customs will simply detain you till you give the password.

You can, of course, buy a brand new phone for the trip and leave it empty. That is what I did when visiting the US in 2017. The catch, of course, is that customs may not believe that you don't use social networks like Facebook where they can search your activities a few years back.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I may delete everything after uploading it all to my website and then travel with an empty phone.

But unfortunately, if they make one unlock it, then it will automatically download mail!

I guess one has to empty iCloud storage completely beforehand!

I doubt have not said musing or amusing, something that someone might interpret as disloyal, stubborn or suspicious!

Asher
 

Michael Nagel

Active member
The ecosystem already exists... in China as the google play store is not available in China. That is the essential news one does not see in the western press. The western press gives a very US and EU centric vision of the smartphone market, but the situation in Asia and Africa is quite different. In Russia, yandex is also a real alternative.

This article argues that Huawei was already busy extending their existing ecosystem into Europe. Maybe that is part of the reason for the ban. OTOH, all attempts to build an alternative smartphone application ecosystem to the google/apple duopoly in US/EU have failed commercially. The only notable alternative is Amazon with their fire tablets, but they don't sell smartphones.
I am pretty much aware of the google app store availability in China as I could test it there. Another app store alone does not mean an entire new ecosystem for me.

My point is the Huawei will come up with their own OS - the plans are there since 2012. This is no feat for a company of that size and running android apps can still be possible, even if there has to be another store than the google app store.
The downside for google is losing millions of users providing valuable data.

Now it seems that ARM has also stopped working with Huawei, there will be more pressure to come up with a new processor for their smartphones.
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
I may delete everything after uploading it all to my website and then travel with an empty phone.

But unfortunately, if they make one unlock it, then it will automatically download mail!

I guess one has to empty iCloud storage completely beforehand!

I doubt have not said musing or amusing, something that someone might interpret as disloyal, stubborn or suspicious!
Exactly. That is the problem: clouds store years of private data and customs can potentially access all of it. You never know what could be found. It does not even needs to be you: one of your relatives may have done something which may be held against you.

The solution is to buy a new, empty phone. You can sync it with whatever online system you want after border crossing. There is a small yet important caveat: you need to switch two factors authentication off.
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
I am pretty much aware of the google app store availability in China as I could test it there. Another app store alone does not mean an entire new ecosystem for me.
It is a question of definition. In my opinion, the "ecosystem" is defined by 3rd party applications. Creating that "ecosystem" of apps means convincing a large number of third parties to move the apps they have and the customers want to your system. That is the difficult part.

Designing an alternative OS with a set of services is comparatively simple. It has been done several times: firefoxOS, ubuntu touch, jolla come to mind. They failed because the customers wanted to be able to use the same applications other phone OS were having.
 
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