That was the big question around the Mate 30, Huawei’s new high-end terminal and the first of the firm subject to restrictions imposed by the U.S. government.
No American company can, for now, supply components or software to the Chinese brand, which in practice, means that the new terminals may not have Android, Google’s operating system. Users won’t be able to access applications as famous as Maps, Gmail, or YouTube, to name a few. The ban does not affect the models of Huawei that are already on the market, but those that the Chinese giant launches from now on. And the Mate 30 is the first of them.
However, and in an unexpected turn of events, Huawei has managed to “skip the ban” and offer its users the same experiences and applications they had until now. And all without violating the restrictions imposed by Donald Trump. How?
Let’s start by saying that the new smartphone, which comes in two versions (Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro, plus two others with 5G) is probably the most powerful portable computer in the industry. The new terminals do not fall short in this area and thanks to its new intelligent processor, Kirin 990, get even more improvements, focused this time on video capabilities.
But let’s get back to the central question. No, the new Mate 30 doesn’t have an Android operating system, nor does it include Google Mobile Services, which allows downloads from the App Store. In other words, it will not be possible, for example, to upgrade to the next Android 10, nor will be pre-installed native Google applications such as Gmail, Maps, or YouTube. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get them.
Huawei insists that when the phone goes on sale, which will happen in the coming weeks, the user will find an easy path, which does not require technical knowledge, to reach, download and install all the “apps” to which he is accustomed.
Huawei has adopted a three-pronged strategy. In the words of Walter Ji, president of Huawei’s Consumer division, the company’s way of working has always been to “decide fast and move fast.” What Ji made more than clear is that Huawei is not going to stop, and is prepared to face any possibility.
Thus, if the United States finally lifts the ban, Huawei will continue as before. And Google is the most interested in this because otherwise, it would lose the 570 million users that the Chinese company currently has.
If, on the other hand, the ban is prolonged, Huawei has its operating system in the oven, Harmony, which could see the light of day with the next generation of terminals next year.
But while the question is debated, Huawei could not stop and has launched a third solution, which is the one that incorporates the new Mate 30.
Called HMS (Huawei Mobile Services), this is a merger between the free version of Android (Android Open Source, which is not subject to embargo or prohibitions), and the exclusive customization layer of Huawei, EMUI, which goes for its version 10.
The terminal, by itself, is not limited in any way, so that any user could search online, on their own, any application and install it without a problem. Many of them are already available in Huawei’s shop, App Gallery, which is included in the terminals and already has 11,000 different applications.
However, and to avoid users having to carry out too complicated operations, the terminals will be prepared so that anyone can easily access all the applications. Even register it with Google. The phones are also compatible with Google Mobile Services, although it is not pre-installed.
The company ensures that everything that is installed on the phones will work correctly. In short, the new Mate 30 is still an Android terminal, although with the restrictions indicated. And in the future, everything will depend on how events unfold. In any case, we must recognize that the solution adopted by Huawei has been brilliant.