The Huawei case
The Immuni app does not work on all phones from Huawei and its related brand Honor. Not only therefore on the more recent ones, which do not have Google services due to a US ban, but also on the previous models, very common in Italy. Immuni’s problems on Huawei and Honor smartphones were evident immediately. In fact, several users have written reviews complaining about the malfunctioning of the contact tracking app, which can be downloaded from smartphones on Monday. Then yesterday, with the Immuni update, the owners of Huawei and Honor devices saw the application disappear from the Google store. The temporary removal of Immuni from the Store depends on the problem of running the app on the two brands of smartphones. The parties involved – Google, Huawei and Bending Spoons – have made no statements. As far as is learned, however, the engineers would be working on the problem, which should be resolved in a short time. Huawei smartphones are widespread in Italy, which for the Shenzhen giant represents the second market in the world after the Chinese one. In Italy, according to Gfk data, one in three Android devices is Huawei brand.
Other incompatible smartphones
As La Stampa had anticipated, the list of incompatible smartphones is quite extensive. “Unfortunately, you will not be able to use Immuni if your iPhone model does not allow updating iOS to a version equal to or greater than 13.5”, in fact, the Immuni website reads. As if to say: those who have iPhone 6 (released in 2014), iPhone 5s and 5 (launched in 2013 and 2012) are excluded. As for Android, the three indispensable requirements are: Bluetooth Low Energy, Android version 6 (Marshmallow, API 23) or higher, and Google Play Services version 20.18.13 or higher. Again, if the phone is more than 6-7 years old, it will almost certainly not be compatible with Immuni.
“The Google-Apple model was the most inclusive choice we could have made. Any other solution could not have included Apple mobile phones which are very popular in our country. There is currently no better technological solution than the one we have adopted” . This was stated by the Minister for Innovation Paola Pisano, responding to questions from deputies during a hearing at the Chamber’s Transport Commission. But, he added, “I already changed the model in the running when I realized that there was one safer and more respectful of privacy. If someone has a better model than the Google-Apple model I am ready to change it again”.
Italy “was the first large European country to adopt such an instrument at national level”. The app, added the Minister. It is already in operation. The tracking is therefore already active: “It is important and useful to have the app from now on because – explained Minister Pisano – the anonymous or pseudo-anonymized alphanumeric codes are already being exchanged between the cell phones of those who downloaded Immuni when they enter a distance close “, 2 meters for 15 minutes at least, he explained. “If some of the subjects contacted are subsequently tested positive for swabs on Covid-19, this will allow those close to them to contact general practitioners to obtain the necessary information on what to do.” In this regard, he specified that the Ministry of Health is already working to meet the requests of those who will receive the notification of exposure to the infection; these citizens will have to be buffered.
The advertising campaign
On average, contact tracing apps have been adopted by 25% of the population, Pisano explained, but it is important that Immuni be downloaded by as many Italians as possible. And for this his department has foreseen a vast “communication campaign that will last 4 months” and will be “organized in three phases: the launch in June, a maintenance phase in July, August and early September and a recall phase at the start of autumn “. A campaign that will involve all the national and international media of TV, print media and the big giants of the web: “All those involved are making their advertising spaces and assets available for free,” he said. Immuni does not currently work abroad, but, explains Pisano, “we are working to ensure that there is full interoperability with the contact tracing apps from other European countries. We want to guarantee citizens to move freely in Europe”.