Huawei seeks app store alternative

Don't let the absence of Gogle Maps distract from the impressive tech behind the latest flagship phone
Image: IDGNS

20 September 2019

The Trump administration’s ban on US companies doing business in China took another turn this week. At an event in Munich, electronics giant Huawei showed off the latest range of its flagship Mate series handsets. As expected they boast best-in-class cameras developed with Leica and a distinctive design based around a curved display. So far so impressive until you get to what they didn’t have: native Google applications.

The omission of Gmail, Maps, Drive, Docs etc. had been expected but they can be ‘side loaded’ if you really want them and don’t mind some degredation in performance. The Play store has been replaced with Huawei’s own AppGallery with its own catalogue of 45,000 apps that, the company says, have been through a vigorous testing process with four layers of threat detection. Will users care?

Probably not. Save for Maps, I can’t see the absence of Google apps being a barrier to Mate 30 sales. Google services can still be accessed in-browser.




Will developers care? Maybe initially but Huawei has set aside $1 billion to entice developers to embrace AppGallery through its Ecosystem Incentive Plan. There’s also a better revenue share deal on offer where developers will be offered an 80/20 split of app profits compared to Apple and Google’s 70/30.

Given the average smartphone owner uses 30 apps per month – and you can be sure which ones they are – a smaller app is more than adequate to most users needs.

It’s a shame the Mate 30 launch has been overshadowed by the Google app hoopla but with better deals on offer for consumers and developers backed up by some impressive hardware it’s unlikely to harm consumer interest or impact on sales.

Huawei expects a modest growth in sales for the Mate 30 over its predecessor, the Mate 20 (an expected 20 million units compared to 16 million).

You never know, Huawei may yet get a reprieve from the powers that be. If so, the plan is to push an over the air update. What would mean for the AppGallery? I guess it’s here to stay.

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