Podcast: Taking Aim at Huawei's Smartphone Business

As the US ramps its trade war with China, Google became one of several companies that said it would limit the software services it provides to Huawei. The aftershocks of that decision might not be felt right away, but they could be severe, said Daniel Gleeson, principal analyst, consumer technology, at Ovum.

Huawei shipped about 207 million smartphones outside of China last year, Gleeson said, and the lack of support from Google for its Android OS and apps means that Huawei "effectively ... cannot sell any new [Android OS-based] handsets outside of China."

That puts a $25 billion business at risk, Gleeson said.

As Google services have become more intertwined with the open source Android OS over the years, Gleeson comments that Android has become less and less open and, in the minds of many consumers, Google and Android are effectively the same thing. While Huawei could go to market outside of China with a Google-free Android phone, it doesn't seem like a likely hit with network operators or consumers.

In this podcast, recorded May 21, find out what other Chinese vendors might emerge and profit from Huawei's troubles. Also, Gleeson talks about the concerns that network operators in Europe and elsewhere have when they can't find enough handset makers to be solid 5G launch partners. How many global companies can roll out new 5G handsets inexpensively enough to tempt consumers in saturated markets?

The Light Reading podcast is available on Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud.

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Phil Harvey, US Bureau Chief, Light Reading

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