Huawei unveils first smartphones since Google apps ban
Huawei is set to unveil its latest flagship smartphones, likely to be the first not carrying core Google apps amid an ongoing trade dispute with the US government.
Instead, the Chinese firm’s Mate 30 Series of phones are expected to run a basic, open source version of Google’s Android operating system stripped of key apps.
Android – the world’s most popular operating system – has until now powered all of Huawei’s smartphones.
Google has previously indicated new devices by Huawei will not be able to use key apps and services – such as Gmail, Google Maps and the Google Play store – under a current US trade ban.
The Chinese giant was effectively blacklisted by Washington in May amid allegations the company was a threat to US national security because of alleged close ties to the Chinese government – something Huawei has always denied.
A temporary licence issued in the wake of the ban has enabled Huawei to maintain the software for existing devices, but does not cover new products.
Experts believe Huawei will now turn to some kind of “software workaround” that will see key Google apps not installed on devices, but made available to users to download themselves.
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com; said: “It will be interesting to see how consumers react if, as expected, the Mate 30 launches without Google’s apps and services.
“We expect Huawei to suggest a workaround for users to get ahold of Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube, and perhaps endorse a safe alternative to the Google Play Store to find apps like Netflix, Snapchat and Facebook.
“But as always, users should be cautious when downloading apps from unauthorised sources as it can open them up to the risk of malware.”
Huawei is holding a media event in Munich to announce the new phones, and a smartwatch is also expected to be unveiled.