Previous reports indicated that Huawei would not be able to release new smartphones with a licensed version of Google’s Android operating system. This is because the Chinese smartphone maker was placed on the “Entity List” in the middle of May, effectively prohibiting U.S. tech firms from selling technology to it.

One particular smartphone series affected by the ban is the upcoming Mate 30 lineup, which is expected to be revealed a few weeks from now. A spokesperson for Google said that Huawei’s new flagships cannot be sold with licensed apps and services. The lineup’s fate, then, continues to remain unknown.

New smartphones

Despite the ban, Huawei plans to continue releasing smartphones running on Google. In an email sent to Android Authority, the Chinese tech company confirmed that by the end of 2019, it will release at least two new smartphones that are running on fully-licensed Android versions. Unfortunately for U.S. consumers, these models will only be released in South Africa.

Huawei said it will soon release the Huawei Y9 S and Nova 5T -- two smartphones that are but incremental upgrades to their predecessors: the Y9 Prime and Nova 5. The Chinese tech giant didn’t say anything about the Y9 S, except that it will come with “innovative technology.”

The Nova 5T, on the other hand, was previously leaked by a Google Enterprise listing. It has a 5.5-inch display with a punch hole located at the top left corner. It is also expected to come with four rear-mounted cameras, making for a total of five cameras.

The upcoming Nova 5T is expected to run on Android 9 Pie. It will come with 8GB of RAM and can be configured to have up to 256GB of internal storage space. It is also expected to have a side-mounted fingerprint reader located inside the recessed area on the right-hand side of the phone, just beneath the volume rocker.

Still supported by Google

Huawei said these new phone models, slated for release before the year ends, will “still be supported by Google.” It’s unclear as to how this will happen as the U.S. government’s ban on Huawei is not specific to any location: Google is still based in the U.S. and is still prohibited from selling technology to the Chinese tech giant.

Huawei won't be able to pre-load its new smartphone with Google apps like Gmail and YouTube, creating new headwinds for the Chinese firm facing US sanctions Huawei won't be able to pre-load its new smartphone with Google apps like Gmail and YouTube, creating new headwinds for the Chinese firm facing US sanctions Photo: AFP / HECTOR RETAMAL