Huawei has suffered a major blow from the US ban earlier this year and the effect is still be seen today. According to the Information, Huawei was preparing a Google Assistant speaker but then the US government threw the company’s software partnership with Google into disarray. Just like Google Home smart speakers Huawei’s was to be powered by the Google Assistant and respond to customer voice commands.
The main purpose was to announce the Huawei-branded speaker at this year’s IFA conference in Berlin and sell it globally, along with Huawei selling it on the web to US shoppers. But shortly after that US President Donald Trump imposed trade restrictions against Huawei in May, the speaker collaboration with Google quickly dissolved.
Manufacturers of these smart speakers, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and others, are increasingly being taken to task over the sensitive conversations and data their voice assistants can collect. Over the last several months’ reports have made clear that how exchanges with Google Assitant, Alexa and Siri are reviewed by human employees in an effort to improve accuracy and provide better responses.
Moreover, a Huawei spokesperson declined to comment on the matter and Google didn’t respond on the report either. An anonymous Huawei employee mentioned that the company had worked with Google on this project for a year with much progress made during that time. But because of the ban, the work on the project has been suddenly stopped.
Huawei is releasing a consumer speaker that would have only ratcheted up those concerns and amplified the possibility of the Chinese government using Huawei’s devices for surveillance purposes. Imagine a smartphone ultimately hold more information about you plus the company already makes plenty of excellent phones, but we’re in an era where the always-listening nature of smart speakers has struck a nerve with consumers who are wary of Big Tech and the potential for total strangers listening to their home conversations.
The information further said that Huawei has steadfastly churned out devices running Google software over the last several years and dating back to the Nexus days, from phones to Wear OS smartwatches. These two companies were always close before US suspicions about Huawei suddenly divorced them and forced Huawei into using the open-source version of Android. It lacks the Google app and services which many people living outside China consider critical.
The Google Assistant speaker is not the first time Huawei faced a set back in the market. Back in 2018, it launched the AI Cube, an Alexa-powered smart speaker with integrated networking skills, able to accept a SIM card for a 4G connection. Apart from that, the widespread privacy concerns about the Huawei, the public might not be that much encouraged about buying a Huawei device loaded with microphones into their home.