Today, the U.S. Commerce Department announced an expansion of its export rules preventing Huawei from using U.S. technology in its products. Huawei has been using chips with U.S. technology manufactured outside the country, and this change closes that particular loophole. Now, any products that rely on American technology and software need a license from the U.S. to ship to Huawei.
The change is a blow to the smartphone and laptop manufacturer and should give consumers pause before purchasing Huawei products. Without the ability to use American software and technology, or buy it from other companies, it won’t be easy to manufacture new products and even to support existing hardware.
The U.S. Commerce Department had already put Huawei on its Entity list, restricting the sale of technology to the company. But in a Tweet today, it explained the change is to “[a]ddress Huawei’s Efforts to Undermine Entity List, Restricts Products Designed and Produced with U.S. Technologies.”
— U.S. Commerce Dept. (@CommerceGov) May 15, 2020
When Huawei lost access to Google Play Services (and by extension the Google Play Store), it tried to cobble a new app store and services to replace it. As noted by Android Police, that effort has been less than successful.
But as hard as it is to replace Google Play, designing and manufacturing chips for laptops, tablets, and phones in much more difficult. Without a drastic change in the state of things, it might be best to avoid Huwaei products for the foreseeable future.