While the whole world anticipates the coronavirus tracing software that Apple and Google are working on, Huawei and Chinese Android users may be left out.
In a Forbes article, Zack Doffman sheds light on the grey areas that the US-Huawei ban and Chinese laws have created. The tech writer also reveals what the two tech companies have said concerning the issue.
As many experts already agree, reducing the spread of the coronavirus is the shortest route to surviving it. With vaccines, a long time away and a cure even further away, tracing infected individuals is now very important.
This is why Google and Apple had come together to build an app and software that will do exactly this job. While it is not an entirely novel innovation, its aim is larger than any existing version.
Last week, the two giant companies had announced this partnership in a blog post. To put the minds of smartphone users at ease, the announcement repeatedly contained reassurances that their privacy was kept intact.
They also revealed that the tracing technology had two steps. Google’s blog post explained:
“First, in May, both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores.
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“Second, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms.”
The problem with this innovation is that Huawei smartphones released after the US trade ban cannot use Google’s products. This is precisely from the Mate 30s and P40s phones.
Another reason is that Chinese authorities have banned Google’s Android from its territories. (Only the open-source Android version is allowed).
Thus, the reasons above will automatically stop about 600 million Android users in China from accessing this tracing technology. This also includes many others who use new Huawei smartphones.
In speaking with Doffman of Forbes, Huawei had commended the move but pointed at the restriction problem. It said in a statement:
“It is encouraging to see technology playing a key role in addressing this global issue—we believe technology should be open and available to everyone. Only then can we use technology to move the world forward and make it a better place.”
Google seems to have found a way around the problem. It mentions that it will publish the technology framework publicly. Then, interested smartphone companies can replicate it and use it.
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