It’s been rumored for a while, but we can now confirm it as absolute fact: The much-hyped Huawei Mate 30 Pro will not feature many of Google’s most popular apps when it’s launched; and nor will it be able to download them. The news, which was confirmed earlier this week, may have devastating implications for Huawei’s revenues outside of its native China.
The smartphone manufacturer has been making significant inroads in North America and Europe for much of the past three years, but all of that progress may now be at risk if users are unable to access their preferred apps when they purchase the new phone, regardless of how impressive the specs of the phone might be. For the majority of mobile phone buyers, convenience is close to the top of the list when it comes to what they’re looking for when they replace an existing handset. If they’re unable to use apps at all – or even if they’re able to do it with a difficult workaround – they may decide it would be simpler just to take a phone from Samsung or Google instead.
At face value, the list of missing apps is comparatively small. Google Maps won’t be packaged, and nor will YouTube. As YouTube can be accessed via a web browser – as can various alternative map services – this may not at first appear to be much of an issue. It becomes an issue when you consider the third of the apps that Huawei have been denied access to – Google Play. Google Play is where users go to download other apps, and so no Google Play means no Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or many other apps which people rely upon daily.
It’s also bad news for gamers, as Google Play also provides access to the majority of popular mobile games. Some types of games won’t be affected. Mobile , for example, aren’t generally downloaded from the Play store, because they’re accessed through specialist mobile websites. In playing mobile , Huawei users abroad are able to do something which is impossible for most Huawei users in China because of laws, but that won’t be much consolation to people who are used to playing PUBG, Fortnite, Candy Crush, or any other popular mobile game using their new Mate 30 Pro.
Why Is This Happening?
Huawei’s inability to access Google’s apps is part of a much larger trade dispute between the United States of America and China, but Huawei specifically has in the past been accused of spying on foreign citizens using technology hidden within its telecommunications equipment. The company has denied all suggestions of impropriety, and no solid evidence of the accusation has ever been presented to the public. American companies have been unable to sell any product or service to Huawei since May this year by order of the US Government, which has prevented Google from engaging in any ongoing business relationship with the company.
There was some hope that the matter may be resolved when President Donald Trump said in July that the government would look at individual exemptions, but since then it’s believed that over 100 companies have applied for an exception so they can trade with Huawei without a single permit being granted. It is not yet known whether Google has submitted such an application.
Is It All Bad News?
Despite the news regarding Huawei’s loss of access to Google’s app products, which will have negatively impacted the company’s profit forecasts despite their public bullishness, it’s not all bad news. At one stage, it was feared that Huawei would also lose access to the Android operating system completely, which would likely have been the kiss of death for any prospect of them continuing to sell phones outside China. In 2019, customers are accustomed to using either Android or iOS as operating software on their phones. The idea of having to learn a whole new operating system just to use a Huawei phone would likely have been a significant barrier to sales.
Huawei had been developing an operating system known as Harmony in case they lost access to Android, but the fact that Android is open-source means that Google and Huawei don’t have to enter into a business arrangement for Huawei to make use of it. That means the new Huawei phone will come with Android as standard, and therefore the basic functionality of the new phone will be similar to what customers are already familiar with. If a method for circumnavigating the app issue could be found, there may yet be a future for Huawei as a multinational company.
Will Google Relent?
That’s probably the wrong way of looking at it. If it were purely down to Google, it’s unlikely that Huawei would be looking in from the outside in the first place. The tech giant has never voiced any opposition to Huawei, and have only cut the manufacturer loose because they’re required to do so under United States law. An argument could be made that Google stand to profit from declining Huawei sales – because their Google Pixel phones are a direct competitor to Huawei – but if Google engaged in that degree of protectionism, Android wouldn’t be available to Samsung or anybody else.
It’s likely that Huawei’s ability to regain access to Google’s Play Store and all other associated products is reliant on diplomatic relations between China and the United States of America improving as a whole – and trying to work out the likelihood of that happening is no easier than trying to guess the outcome of the next spin of the reels on one of the mobile games in related games or other new sites we mentioned earlier on. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro will launch as the most powerful, dynamic, and technically impressive Huawei phone to date. Sadly, it may also find its smallest-ever base of users unless either America or China blinks in their seemingly endless trade war. With a United States election looming large for 2020, Huawei might be best advised to consolidate their current position, and wait to see if a change takes place that may allow for friendlier relations.