Huawei has been included in the list of entities of the US Department of Commerce. In May, preventing the company from accessing its US-based supply chain. Of course, this was terrible news for the company, as it cannot license the Android version of Google’s Google Play services, the ARM Holdings chip designs and the Qualcomm, Intel, and Micron components. But the ban also damages American companies; In 2018, Huawei spent $11 billion on US parts and software.
Exactly a month ago, US President Donald Trump announced that he and the president of China, Xi Jinping, had temporarily reached a truce to avoid any escalation of the trade war between China and the US. While Huawei was included in the list for security reasons, the president himself stated that the company could be used as a currency to extract better terms for any trade agreement between the two countries. And after the truce was announced, Trump said: “U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei. We’re talking about equipment where there’s no great national security problem with it.”
Although at the time it seemed like good news for Huawei, the truth is that nothing has changed in the last month. Huawei cannot yet access its US. And Google’s ties with the Chinese manufacturer are still severed.
Huawei And Google Have Planned To Sell Their Smart Speaker In The US
And today, it was revealed that the ban cost the world another smart speaker. An anonymous source within Huawei said that the company and Google worked for a whole year to develop this speaker that the Google Assistant would present. Ironically, Huawei would sell the speaker in the US even though the government will not allow the purchase of Huawei phones through state carriers. But unfortunately, the ban highlighted the project. Although the world certainly does not need another smart speaker, it would have been interesting to see what the two giants of technology could have emerged.
The fact that Huawei would sell its smart speaker in the US is quite interesting. Given that companies like Amazon, Google and Apple are listening to snippets of user conversations, can you imagine how much scrutiny would have received a Huawei smart speaker? While the transcription of these conversations is supposedly done to improve the way digital helpers interact with users, it certainly looks familiar. Indeed, this sounds exactly like the behavior that US lawmakers fear most about Huawei. The company is considered a threat to national security in the US. As there are rumors that it has put back doors on its devices to send intelligence to consumers and US companies in Beijing. Under Chinese law, the government may require Huawei to collect information on its behalf. The company obviously denied it. The report also seems to indicate that Huawei and Google had a closer relationship than anyone else outside the two companies knew (even if they joined the Nexus 6P 2015).
Amazon had dominated the smart speaker market, which is not surprising since it was the creator of the category. The first Echo units were delivered in 2015, but Google is trying to recover. During the first quarter of this year, Amazon sent 4.6 million Echo devices globally, good enough for a 22.1% portion of the pie. That was less than 27.7% he had in the same quarter last year. Google has seen that its share in the global smart speaker market has dropped drastically from 36.2% to 16.8% even after delivering 10% more units in the period. Apple’s HomePod speaker didn’t qualify for a top-five position worldwide. HomePod sales were adversely affected by Siri’s poor performance compared to competing participants and the original price of $349 (now $299).
There is still plenty of room for growth. At the end of last year, only 21% of adults in the US-owned the smart speaker, while the number of American homes increased by 78% in 2018 to 118.5 million units.
(Via: Android Police)
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