imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

Huawei vs Google or China vs US? (Last of 2 series)

 (Last of 2 series)

Lately, US’ Google has decided to withdraw its support to Huawei enraging Huawei users all over the world, branding it as a “spy phone.”

Is this a stern warning to China that it is going on too far in the war for world supremacy when it comes to technology?

I remember when we were still young that VCRs, betamax, VCDs and DVDs were a luxury. Brands such as Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba were flooding the market then. Well, they were very expensive, fellas, and the ordinary Filipino could not afford them then.

Then came Chinese brands such as Ace, TJ Pro etc. etc. which are Chinese brands at only P1000 to P1500 and so they became an instant hit, decreasing tremendously the sale of the “branded” ones.

“My Chinese DVD player is only P1000, but it’s so very good, kahit gasgas na ‘yong disc, nababasa pa rin!” Mang Maing said.

Now comes the battle for cellphone supremacy.

The Google-Huawei issue is one of the hottest issues in the technology world today, fellas.

The questions are: Is this a wise US move? How sure are other phone brands won’t suffer Huawei’s fate? Can China back up its millions of Huawei users?

Analyst Bill Chen in Quora Digest also asks: Is there a risk to Google that Huawei will simply fill the gaps in the Android ecosystem left by Google’s withdrawal with their own versions as they have in China already and thereby end Google’s monopoly?  It is not just Huawei but every Android partner will wake up to the risk of depending on Google, even though Android is available for “free”. But it is not just Android, because Google is withdrawing access to the full suite of services. It is unclear to me if it is technically feasible, given all you need is a browser for most of them. Ban access via hardware signature?

He also said that other phone manufacturers will be at risk over by the U.S. administration “on the grounds of national security.” They don’t even have to accuse you of wrongdoing. Samsung will be thinking, what if South Korea offends Big Brother or what if I grow too big and attract unwanted attention?

This is playground bullying, but has immense ramifications. Google has little hardware presence, so Android partners will have to give serious thought to forking out their own branches, and develop alternatives to Google services, which the Chinese already have in place. Fortunately, China and India alone is 3 billion, so there is a huge market to sustain non-Google alternatives.

What remains to be seen is how the hardware ecosystem react to the American market, given the belligerent nature of the move since China is a major component supplier and manufacturer of cell phones and computers today. The manufacturing capacity cannot be easily replaced should China retaliate by instituting special tax regimes for U.S. firms or limiting their economic activity on grounds of “national security”.

Chen also disclosed that China has 90% of the rare earths crucial for mobile electronics.

And so, if Huawei and other Chinese companies are not doing illegal, cheating deeds, why are so many countries banning their products and services or raising concerns about them?

B.T. Yang a computer chipset engineer who was born in China and is currenly living in Taiwan said:

“I used to work on an internet/Wifi chip project; I even helped to edit the entire user manual. The latter task took more than six months of painstaking, instruction-by-instruction proofreading and repeated checks and verifications. I am sure all respectable communication companies in the world would do the same thing, if not more. On the system level, there are even more rigorous instruction-by-instruction scrutinies.

And there are Bloomberg’s ridiculous alleged “spy chips” on the server motherboards supplied by Chinese vendors. These are mindless, direct insults to the intelligence of the engineers on the project. Unlike spying software, these are real chips which if you don’t find them on your original design drawings, you can simply cut them out with a knife and chew on them. Or before chewing them up, take a picture with your cell phone and post it on the internet so everyone can see what a spy chip looks like. With the mighty knowhow of the FBI, the NSA, and DARPA, someone ought to be able to show us what espionage hardware looks like. Remember: all the IEEE protocols originate in the US, not in China’s Huawei.

I remember reading that Apple’s engineers debunked Bloomberg’s story, but received little notice. No, engineers are never trained in the value of sensationalism as much as lawyers. And yes, I am an engineer too, and I am proud to tell it straight.

In 1998, when I read Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress, I thought it was pure fiction. Not until Edward Snowden revelations came out did I appreciate Dan Brown’s insight even more. Now Snowden is labeled as a traitor, and that serves a chilling warning to those who dare even consider telling the truth about what the NSA and other intelligence organizations do.

Maybe we should all be grateful that the NSA is defending the free world from being taken over by the bad guys’ espionage 24/7, with its mighty computers supported by its well-paid software / hardware elites. But then it does not take a genius to surmise that the NSA may decide to meander around checking on other interesting things in the name of national security, such as personal conversations, email, text messages or financial transactions.

However, there is one thing for sure: if Huawei hardware came with a free and suspicious chip, it wouldn’t even take a junior EE student to spot it. If Huawei’s equipment came with a free spying bug, it shouldn’t take the mighty NSA a week to kill it—because they are in the same business— and better.”

Now, what can Vivo, Oppo, Samsung, Cherry Mobile, Starmobile and other cellphone makers say about these revelations? Are you not alarmed you will be the next target of Google?

And what can Huawei users all over the world say?

Speak up, fellas!