In May 2019, the U.S. placed Huawei
on the Entity List. Not only did this ban Huawei from accessing its U.S. supply chain, it also banned Huawei from using Google's
Android apps on Huawei handsets. Not that this really mattered since many of these apps such as YouTube, Search, Google Maps, Drive, and others were already banned from the Chinese versions of Huawei's phones by the government. Google's apps were allowed on the international versions of Huawei's phones.
Huawei's Entity List placement means that Google Mobile Services is not allowed on Huawei handsets and had to be replaced. Huawei developed its own ecosystem called Huawei Mobile Service (HMS). As of last December, HMS covered 500 million monthly active users in over 170 countries; the buzz around the water cooler is that a non-Huawei handset will soon be available with HMS pre-installed (more on this below).
Meizu could release the first non-Huawei phones to include HMS Core via Huawei Mobile Services
Huawei also had to replace the Google-licensed version of Android with the open source version of Android and will now switch to its home grown HarmonyOS. The company's first 2021 flagship, the camera-centric Huawei P50 series, could be the first smartphones to run HarmonyOS
. According to Huawei staff member Akiba Ziluo, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu will have the first non-Huawei handset to support HMS Core through the Huawei Mobile Service. According to Huawei, "HMS Core offers a rich array of open device and cloud capabilities, which facilitate efficient development, fast growth, and flexible monetization. This enables global developers to pursue groundbreaking innovation, deliver next-level user experiences, and make premium content and services broadly accessible."
Each Chinese phone manufacturer has a secret fear; they worry about becoming the next Huawei and ending up in a similar predicament. That is why many of them are looking for Chinese technology that could be used in a jiff to replace American software in case they are banned from using U.S. technology like Huawei is.