UPDATE 5/30/19: It appears the SD Card Association has reinstated Huawei’s membership. The association’s website now lists Huawei as a member after previously taking the vendor’s name off.
“Huawei’s membership was never cancelled, it has been temporarily modified to ensure compliance with the U.S. Department of Commerce Order. The name was missing from our website earlier due to a technical issue,” the association told PCMag in an email.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration did issue a 90-day reprieve on its blacklisting of Huawei. This can allow US companies to support the Chinese vendor’s existing smartphone models.
Huawei may have to design smartphones and laptops without official SD card support. The Trump administration’s blacklisting of the Chinese company has forced the SD Card Association to delist Huawei as a member.
“The SD Association is complying with US Department of Commerce orders,” a spokesman for the standard groups said in an email on Friday.
The California-based association licenses the SD card technology to vendors around the world. So cutting off Huawei likely means the company can no longer manufacture products to support the memory cards, at least not in an official capacity. Both the SD Card Association and Huawei have so far remained mum on the potential impact to the company’s future products, but Huawei does have its own modular memory card, called Nano Memory, which it’s been rolling out to existing Huawei smartphones.
Another standards group, the Wi-Fi Alliance, has also “temporarily restricted” Huawei’s membership in order to comply with the Trump’s administration’s order. The alliance lets members submit input on developing future versions of the wireless technology, and gain access to test builds and plans before launch.
Huawei is losing access to the standards associations as the company’s whole business is getting cut off from the major processor and software suppliers, including Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm. The administration’s move bans US companies from supplying technology to Huawei amidst a trade war and on claims the Chinese company poses a threat to US national security interests.
Even non-US companies have stopped working with Huawei. UK-based ARM, a key developer of smartphone chips, is reportedly suspending business with the Chinese vendor because its processor designs use “US origin technology.” Mobile carriers in the UK and Japan have also postponed launches of upcoming Huawei smartphones over concerns the devices will lose software support due to the supply ban.
None of this bodes well for Huawei, which is the second largest smartphone vendor in the world thanks to handsets built with Google’s Android. But Huawei has been prepping its own operating system, which could arrive as soon as this fall.
Other suppliers such as Japan’s Panasonic and Taiwan’s TSMC still plan on doing business with Huawei.