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This week’s top stories: Huawei cut off from US tech, Pixel vs ‘Phone X’, more

In this week’s top stories: Huawei has been cut off from a variety of US tech including the Google Play Store, Google draws another sharp comparison between the Pixel 3a and “Phone X,” Android Messages picks up support for the Google Assistant, and more.

This week’s biggest news story actually began last Thursday when the White House put sanctions on Huawei’s business, prohibiting the company from importing US-based tech. The move was just one part of a larger, ongoing trade war between the US and China.

On Sunday, in compliance with the sanctions, Google reportedly stopped all business dealings with Huawei. This included ceasing certification of Huawei’s unreleased devices for Android updates, the Play Store and Google Play Services.

Apparently, specific details are still being discussed by Google internally, but this effective ban would limit Huawei solely to using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). For future Huawei devices, the Play Store wouldn’t be supported, and Google’s own apps such as Gmail or Chrome won’t be available either.

In the following days, it was revealed that the US tech ban would only have a limited effect on Huawei’s existing devices, with a promise that security updates would still arrive and that Google’s services would continue to work. The US government even temporarily eased the tech restriction, to allow Huawei to give their existing devices a few more months of support.

Huawei kept a strong appearance as the fallout of Google’s compliance with the US sanctions continued to unfold, with reports spreading of Huawei having a potential Android alternative in development as a Plan B.

The Information cites sources that describe Huawei’s Project Z as being “far from ready,” and having a turbulent development process. However, once completed, Huawei still has to get third-party developers to create applications. This might be easier domestically, but would be a bigger challenge abroad. Yu also acknowledged that creating an ecosystem is key to the company’s future plans.

Since then, Huawei’s hopes to ever make another mobile device (so long as sanctions are in place) decreased dramatically when ARM and the SD Association suspended business with the Chinese company, in compliance with the sanctions. These essentially prevent Huawei both from creating new ARM processors and from including a microSD card slot.

This suspension of business between ARM and Huawei casts a further black cloud above Huawei, who will no doubt find it difficult to operate their smartphone arm without access to ARM designs moving forward. It is worth pointing out that  HiSilicon and Huawei are free to carry on using and manufacturing existing chips, the ban would mean the company could no longer turn to ARM for assistance in developing components for devices in future.

In Pixel news, Google is continuing their somewhat controversial “Phone X” advertising campaign. This time, instead of attacking the camera, they’re taking full advantage of the Google brand recognition. In the ads, it’s made clear that “Phone X has Google” but “Pixel 3a is Google.” It’s a simple, factual, and memorable way to get the point across.

Made by Google from the beginning has touted this deep integration of AI, software, and hardware as its reason for developing hardware. Meanwhile, “has Google” versus “is Google” is pretty catchy and a quick rebuttal, with the cheaper pricing also a highlight of this ad style.

On the apps front, the long-awaited Google Assistant integration with the Android Messages app has finally begun to officially roll out. For those with the feature live, the Google Assistant will occasionally offer relevant search suggestions based on your current conversation.

For the privacy-minded folks who may not want Google Assistant reading all of their private conversations, Google has stated that the Assistant’s suggestions in Messages are created by machine learning directly on your device, rather than being sent through Google servers.

The rest of this week’s top stories follow:

Huawei |

Android |

Apps & Updates |

Chrome OS |

Made by Google |

OnePlus |

Smart Home |

Videos |

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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