Technology

Customers could be put off by lack of Google apps on Huawei phone, experts warn

Chinese firm's new Mate 30 line will use its own app store instead of Google Play.

A lack of Google’s core apps on Huawei’s latest handset runs the risk of putting potential buyers off, industry experts have warned.

The Chinese firm has been forced to use its own app store instead of Google Play, in response to a US trade ban that effectively blacklisted Huawei.

While the Mate 30 series still runs a version of Android – the world’s most popular operating system for smartphones – with its own skin on top, it does not have access to the Google Play Store.

First tests of Huawei’s apparent alternative show popular apps like Instagram and WhatsApp are missing, something mobile spectators believe could be a problem.

“Google was the elephant in the room as Huawei launched the Mate 30,” said Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com.

“All the talk before the launch was of how the Chinese manufacturer would reassure fans concerned about the absence of Google apps and services from the smartphone.

“Fans expecting Huawei to announce a workaround to allow users to get hold of Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube, were informed that phone store staff would help customers to ‘side-load’ the apps – although this could deter consumers who are more likely to transact online.

“Chief executive Richard Yu also announced that the alternative to the Google Play Store would be the Huawei AppGallery, but there are still question marks about the apps which would be available on the manufacturer’s own store.”

Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at PP Foresight, added: “A cloud lays over the launch which raises more questions than answers.

“The lack of key services will have a bigger impact than the iPhone not having 5G.”

Others think that the issue could be an opportunity for other Android smartphone makers.

“Lacking some key Google apps means the device will be less attractive to potential customers outside China, which puts other Android vendors, such as Samsung, in a position of relative strength,” said Dexter Thillien, an analyst at Fitch Solutions.

“And again, should Huawei look to develop its own OS, the issue would be creating the right ecosystem, and it includes having the right apps, which a new OS would also be lacking.”

Huawei also failed to state a release date for the new series, at a launch event in Munich.

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