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So, You Own a Huawei Phone. What Now?

In the first week of 2019, I bought a Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

It was a very considered choice based on a lot of factors, and Huawei wasn’t even on my radar at first. While I initially wanted to stay within the Sony Xperia line like my past two phones, the available models at the time didn’t have as much bang for their comparatively sizable buck.

Because of stuff I needed to do for work, I then looked into maybe getting a Pixel 3 for its remarkable camera tech and its natural integration with the Android mothership that is Google. Alas, Alphabet Inc.’s pride and joy hadn’t made it available in the Philippines. I also considered the Samsung S9+ for the same reason, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay its premium cost on top of dealing with its comparatively sluggish UI.

And then I came across reviews of the Mate 20 Pro.

Constant rumors of how Huawei was suspected of possible surveillance agendas at the behest of the Chinese government aside, it was phenomenal. So, I got it, and I was happy with it.

And then the US went and did its thing.

Deep breaths, deep breaths

By now, most Huawei phone owners have settled down from the initial shock of the news that Google would be withdrawing support in compliance with the US government, especially with the 90-day reprieve. News outlets have similarly dialed back on the alarmist headlines and have taken more contemplative wait-and-see stances.

And that’s where we, the Huawei-wielding civilians in the crossfire of this economic trade war, are as well. What can we do while waiting and seeing how things will play out?

First, don’t panic. Our phones still work just fine for now, and they are likely to do so at least until August, according to Tech in Asia and the South China Morning Post. (Disclosure: I’m a copy editor for Tech in Asia.) The future after August remains to be seen, but in the meantime all is well; you don’t have to buy a new phone right away, especially if you’re an early adopter of the fancy new P30 models.

That said, the next thing we can do is consider contingency plans. If regular phone backups aren’t part of your usual routines, it’s time to start. While your app library will remain intact if you switch to another Android phone, it’s still prudent to keep your personal data safe from the unexpected crash or unpatched security hole (which may become likely if the 90-day reprieve doesn’t get extended).

If you are lucky enough to maintain app libraries in both the Android and iOS ecosystems, it’s a good idea to see which of your must-have Android apps also exist on the other side of the fence. While not everyone has that kind of privilege, it’s still a practical consideration if you decide to ditch Android entirely. Interestingly, the opposite perspective might have merit too.

At the end of the day, all we can do is pay attention and stay calm. If, after taking stock of your options, you decide that it’s best to just wash your hands of the whole mess and pick another brand instead, just remember to do your research. Perhaps revisit an old friend, if you’ve been around long enough.