Published: April 21, 2020 6:28:35 pm
Google and Apple are working on a ‘contact tracing system’ to locate the spread of the coronavirus and help contain it. The new tool is supposed to available to Android and iOS phones via software updates soon but as per a report, Huawei phone users will be left out of this update.
The US ban on Huawei forced the Chinese smartphone maker to launch its new phones without Google apps and services. According to The Telegraph, users who have newer Huawei phones that come without Google services will not be able to use this contact tracing tool.
Huawei and Honor phones now rely on their own app store called App Gallery. While the report mentions that these new phones will not run the tool that is being developed by Apple and Google for a global rollout, there’s a chance that older Huawei phones that were sold before the US ban and run Google services will be able to make use of this system. However, there’s no confirmation over this.
How the contact tracing system works
The ‘contact tracing system’ uses Bluetooth LE (low energy) for proximity detection to identify people with whom a user comes in contact and keeps a record in the form of anonymous identifier beacons. If a person is positively diagnosed with COVID-19, their contact history could be extracted from their phone. With the consent of the user, the phone uploads the last 14 days of keys for their broadcast beacons to the cloud.
Other users who have been in contact with this person receive a message letting them know that they have been in contact with some who has tested positive for COVID-19. Users also receive a notification with information about what to do next.
Huawei is among the top three smartphone manufacturers in the world and the company had reportedly shipped more than 56 million smartphones by the fourth quarter of 2019. However, it is unclear how many of these devices had Google Mobile Services and apps installed.
Also read | Explained: The contact tracing technology Apple and Google are jointly developing
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