Google Cuts Android Ties with Huawei After Trump’s Blacklisting of the Mobile Giant

Google has blocked Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from accessing its Android mobile platform, meaning Huawei devices will no longer be able to receive the latest Android updates or access the company’s applications and services, including Google Play, Maps and the Gmail app.

It was another huge blow to Huawei in a matter of days, the first coming from the Trump administration when it blacklisted the Shenzhen-headquartered company last week – an obvious fallout of the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

But, not everyone agrees that the US government’s move was a trade war-related decision made in haste.

“Other nations must not make the mistake of thinking President Trump’s recent executive order banning companies like Huawei from US networks is merely an afterthought of the trade war,” Retired Brig. Gen. Robert S. Spalding – Special Assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. – wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

“The severity of President Trump’s declaration underscores just how seriously the US views this issue, and the UK must recognise this strength of feeling,” he said, adding: “To miss the significance of his actions would be a grave misjudgement of how seriously we take our security in an ever-more dangerous world.”

Google said its decision was in compliance with the executive order Trump signed on Wednesday, prohibiting US firms from doing business with companies believed to be involved in “activities that are contrary to US national security or foreign policy interest.”

Although White House officials refrained from identifying China and Huawei as the intended target of the draconian decree, it didn’t take long for the US Commerce Department to add Huawei to the list of companies that the government considers detrimental to American interests.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson said on Monday.

Huawei devices will continue to receive Android services that are publicly available via open source licensing.

The spokesperson also said that “Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”

Huawei responded by saying that it would continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to its smartphone and tablet users, without clarifying how the ban would affect new Huawei devices.

The company did, however, highlight its “substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world.”

“As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited both users and the industry,” it said.

Meanwhile, China has slammed the US government’s move to blacklist Huawei, saying that it will do all that is required to protect the “legitimate” interests of the nation’s companies.

“China has always stressed that the concept of national security should not be abused. It should not be used as a tool to push forward trade protectionism,” Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing.

“China will take all the necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese firms,” he said.

Huawei believes that imposing a business embargo on Huawei would “limit the U.S. to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the U.S. lagging behind in 5G deployment and eventually harming the interests of U.S. companies and consumers.”

Refuting the allegation that its products pose a security threat to the US, Huawei said that it was open to talks with the US administration to address their concerns.

“We are ready and willing to engage with the US government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security.”

At the G20 Summit last year, both the superpowers had agreed to halt additional tariffs on each other’s goods for a period of ninety days to give themselves enough time to engage in meaningful negotiations and find a mutually acceptable solution to their escalating trade disputes.

Six months on, the disputes continue and have, in fact, compounded after the Trump administration raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to a whopping 25 percent, threatening to impose 25 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports, as well.

Of course, China counterattacked by levying higher tariffs on $60 billion worth of American products.

“The tariff hike by the United States will only bring greater difficulties to the consultations,” Feng said.

“We urge the United States to cancel the wrong practices as early as possible, avoiding greater losses to Chinese and American companies and consumers, and causing a ‘recession-like’ impact on the world economy,” the spokesman added.

According to China, there are three fundamental differences between the two nations that need to be addressed in totality before the issues can be amicably resolved.

“To reach any agreement, China’s three core concerns must be properly resolved,” Feng said.

The three points of contention that Feng was referring to are as follows:
Since tariffs were the root cause for the trade war between the two countries, they must be totally done away with by both sides.

The second issue is concerning the additional volume of US goods that China is supposed to import, according to a statement issued last week by Liu He – China’s Vice Premier and lead trade negotiator – who did not provide any further details

The third is about how the draft agreement is worded in order to secure a non-partisan deal.


Amazon is Now Delivering Packages Inside Parked Vehicles in 37 U.S. Cities

In another first, Amazon announced Tuesday that it is now going to deliver your packages inside your car, which, really, is an expansion of the retail behemoth’s in-house delivery system launched last year, giving the company’s delivery guys access to your home to drop those packages you ordered.

While the ‘Amazon Key’ makes it possible for couriers to unlock your front door using keypads and smart locks and connected cameras along with the Amazon Key app, its car version – the ‘Amazon Key In-Car’ will use the connected onboard technologies on select vehicles for in-car package deliveries.

Launched in collaboration with automobile giants General Motors and Volvo, the Amazon Key In-Car service is being made available to Amazon Prime subscribers who have 2015 or newer models of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, or Volvo vehicles along with active OnStar or Volvo On Call accounts.

You can check your eligibility here

Interested customers who meet the company’s qualification criteria can register their vehicles through the Amazon Key app, which will allow them to select their car as the delivery spot while shopping on Amazon.

Of course, certain conditions apply, like, for instance, the car has to be parked within a two-mile range of the specified address.
Also, the car can’t be parked in restricted-access parking areas, multi-level setups, or basements.


“Customers have also told us they love features like keyless guest access and being able to monitor their front door from anywhere with the Amazon Key App,” said Peter Larsen, Amazon’s vice president of delivery technology.

“In-car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the Amazon experience with them. And, with no additional hardware or devices required, customers can start ordering in-car delivery today.”

Wary of the security lapses it experienced with Amazon Key, this time around Amazon has built in those additional safety features to avoid any repeats of what, for example, happened in February this year, when a customer got a rude shock to find a company delivery person in his bedroom.

Also, in November, researchers noted a flaw in the Amazon Key camera that could potentially render it ineffective in the event of an attack.

The good thing with the Amazon Key In-Car is that there is no enabled keypad and camera involved here that you need to spend good money on, as you have to do with the Amazon Key in-house delivery service.

All you need, as mentioned, is a vehicle that qualifies and the mandatory OnStar or Volvo On Call and, don’t forget, you have to be in one of the 37 specified cities where the program is being made accessible.

The service allows you to track the stages of your package delivery from your own smartphone device, and your request to unlock your vehicle for delivery goes through Amazon, on to Volvo On Call, or OnStar, before it is actioned.

Delivery dudes have to scan the package to confirm delivery and relock the vehicle before they are allowed to move on to their next delivery.

Amazon and its partners, General Motors, and Volvo have all assured that the delivery staff will not be able to control any electrical feature of the vehicle once they’ve unlocked the car, with Volvo saying that it’s On Call service would still need a physical key to be able to start the car.

In the case of OnStar, the lock and unlock options allowed to the delivery people are totally isolated from the rest of the OnStar services.

This is how the process goes step by step

  • Download the Amazon Key app
  • Confirm vehicle compatibility to proceed
  • Provide your vehicle’s color and license plate number
  • App tells you to park your car within a two-block radius from the delivery address on a street-level location (no restricted-access
    parking spaces, no multi-level, or basement parking)
  • Provide a backup delivery address or request for a second in-car delivery attempt the following day
  • Once your car is set up on the app, the next time you want the in-car service, all you need to do is select the “in-car delivery” option and you’ll get an Amazon delivery notification on your mobile not only on the delivery day but the previous day as well.

While the delivery driver can unlock and lock vehicles through the Amazon Key app, customers can only do that through the OnStar or On Call app through secure encryptions and users do have the option of blocking a car delivery, should the situation demand.