Google to new Huawei owners: Our core apps aren't available to you for sideload

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Google has clarified the status of its core apps like Gmail and YouTube on new devices from Huawei, due to the ongoing ban on US companies supplying technology to the Chinese tech giant. 

Google has posted a document on its Android community pages about Huawei’s placement on the Commerce Department’s Entity List in May last year. The note comes ahead of several new Huawei smartphone launches due in the first quarter. 

According to 9to5Google, which first spotted Google’s new note, Google advised consumers against sideloading its Android apps on new, uncertified Huawei handsets. 

However, Google has since updated the post to definitively state that its core apps are simply not available for sideload on new Huawei devices.

SEE: IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)

“Due to government restrictions, Google’s apps and services are not available for preload or sideload on new Huawei devices,” wrote Tristan Ostrowski, Google’s Android and Play legal director. 

Ostrowski explained that Google continues to receive questions about new models launching now and whether its apps can be used on these devices. Google’s message stresses that it’s not a matter of Google being unwilling to give its apps to Huawei, but that it is not allowed to under US law. 

And it emphasizes why consumers inside and outside the US shouldn’t use methods like sideloading to skirt the ban. 

Google explains that due to Huawei’s current status it is “prohibited from working with Huawei on new device models or providing Google’s apps including Gmail, Maps, YouTube, the Play Store and others for preload or download on these devices”.

The remainder of the message outlines the security reasons why users are advised against installing apps on devices that haven’t been Play Protect certified. 

“Because of the government restrictions described above, new Huawei device models made available to the public after May 16, 2019 have not been able to go through this security process nor will they have Play Protect preloaded. As a result, they are considered ‘uncertified’, and will not be able to utilize Google’s apps and services,” wrote Ostrowski.  

SEE: The 10 best smartphones of 2020: 5G powers the top contender

This means sideloaded Google apps “will not work reliably” because uncertified devices may already be compromised. Additionally, sideloaded Google apps may have been altered or tampered with to compromise user security.      

Users can check if a device is Play Protect certified by opening the Google Play Store app, tapping ‘Menu’ and checking ‘Settings’. It should state the device is certified under ‘Play Protect certification’.

With no end in sight for the blockade on US technology for Huawei devices, the Chinese company is trying to woo developers to its alternative Huawei Mobile Services (HMS). In January, Huawei offered UK developers £20m ($26m) as an incentive for them to work on apps for HMS. 

More on Google, Huawei, and the US China trade ban

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