Oh, what a rollercoaster of a year Huawei has had. The Chinese telecoms manufacturer was blacklisted by the US earlier this year by being placed on an Entity List. It received 90 days relief from the ban to trade with US companies, received another 90 days relief and was then told that its new handset cannot launch with Google apps. That’s where we stand now — the Huawei Mate 30 series, that will be announced next week (19 Sept) cannot ship with any Google apps. Bummer.
Onwards with Android
The good news is that handsets due to launch from now onward can still run Android and receive updates because Android is open-source software. This means that the source code is freely available to use on any device. Amazon’s Fire tablets, for example, run on AOSP (Android open-source project). Huawei has made it very clear that it doesn’t plan to roll out its own operating system, Harmony OS, on smartphones soon.
Huawei’s Mate 30 series will, however, lack all Google-made apps. Necessities like the Google Play Store, Google Maps, Gmail and Google Calendar won’t be pre-loaded on the handsets. The company already has its own established app store that is widely used in China. The trick will be to make US-made apps available in the store. But it looks like the company may have a workaround to get its users access to Google apps.
‘n Boer maak ‘n plan
Huawei Mate 30 Pro waterfall screen 🤩
158.1 x 73.6 x 8.7mm & thickness goes upto 9.7mm around the camera bump & screen size around 6.6 inches.
The notch has new things 🧐 pic.twitter.com/03o3cR3Oxu
— Huawei Club (@ClubHuawei) September 4, 2019
It has been shopping around for alternatives — which is the logical first step. The first replacement we know about is the addition of ProtonMail replacing Gmail. ProtonMail is a free email platform that features end-to-end encryption and was developed at the CERN research centre in Switzerland. And to be honest, it sounds like an amazing email client.
But it looks like users may be able to access Google apps according to Huawei consumer business group CEO Richard Yu. “Yu said that the firm has been investigating the ability to let Mate 30 owners install Google apps on the AOSP (i.e. non-Google) version of Android,” Android Authority reports.
The open-source nature of AOSP opens a variety of possibilities and workarounds for users. “Chinese brand Meizu previously allowed users to install Google services via an app store pre-installed on its phones. This could, therefore, be one workaround for Huawei if/when the Mate 30 series hits the West without Google support,” Android Authority explains.
It’s a waiting game
This means that there may be a possibility for Huawei users to download and use the Google apps we’ve grown so accustomed to using. But the outright banning of Huawei trading with US companies may still prove problematic for the Chinese company.
We are very excited to see how Huawei will handle the announcement of its latest flagship next week. But we are concerned that it won’t divulge OS information just yet. The devices may also only launch quite a while from now — so a lot can change on the US trade ban front in the meantime. Regardless, we’re still rooting for Huawei and are excited to see its creative workarounds, considering the circumstances.