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Huawei Says Most of Its Phones Will Get Apple and Google’s Coronavirus Contact Tracing Feature

The Huawei phones that were launched before the US ban will receive the update.

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Huawei Says Most of Its Phones Will Get Apple and Google’s Coronavirus Contact Tracing Feature

American companies are banned from working with Huawei

Highlights
  • Huawei reportedly said that its older phones will get the updates
  • The phones include those that launched before May 2019 with Google apps
  • Huawei was put in a blacklist by the US in May last year

Huawei has said that Apple and Google's contact-tracing feature will be able to run on most of its phones. The confirmation came after there were reports that the company's newer phones that do not include Google apps will miss out on the new feature. Huawei has said that the phones that were launched before May 2019 -- when US companies were banned from doing business with Huawei -- will be getting the contact tracing system. It seems to indicate that if you own any of the Huawei phones that launched afterwards, will be missing out on the new system.

According to a report by TechRadar, the phones like Huawei P30 and P30 Pro that were launched before Huawei was put on a blacklist by the US about a year ago, will get the update. However, the Huawei Mate 30 series was launched later in the year. Also, there is no word yet on how far back the compatibility of the update will be extended.

Apple and Google's COVID-19 contact tracking feature

The contact tracing technology is being developed by Google and Apple. They are working together to develop a framework for the use of Bluetooth on Android and iOS devices for the tracing. According to their joint statement, the framework of the system will be launched in May and a “broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform” will be enabled in the “coming months”.

In May 2019, US President Donald Trump signed an order that prohibited purchase or use of equipment from companies that pose "an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.” Huawei was put on the list of those companies.

Notably, there are billions of other phones as well that may have to do without the new feature. According to a report by Financial Times, as many as 2 billion older mobile phones lack Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, a newer version that needs less power, and the upcoming contact tracing feature relies on it.

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