Google Pre-Empts Huawei’s New Mobile Phone, Mate 30

  • Huawei plans to release its new generation flagship mobile phone Mate 30 on September 19.
  • Despite a grace period from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Google will not provide Huawei Mate 30 with a license for supporting Google applications.
  • This will not affect the Chinese domestic market, but will greatly impact the experience of users internationally.

China’s communications equipment giant Huawei plans to release its new flagship phone in Munich, Germany this month. However, due to the US government’s sanctions, the new mobile phone will only be equipped with an open-source Android operating system, without pre-installing Google’s supporting applications. This will greatly affect the experience of users in China’s overseas markets.

Huawei plans to release its new generation flagship mobile phone Mate 30 on September 19. This will also be the first Android smartphone that Huawei sells overseas without pre-installed Google Maps, Google PLAY Store, Google Framework Services and other supporting applications. Google has confirmed to the Frankfurt Report by saying it will not provide Huawei Mate 30 with a license for supporting Google applications.

The Huawei Mate 30 and its Lite and Pro versions are smartphones set to be released in September 2019. Since 2016, Huawei has been in a co-engineering partnership with the German manufactuer Leica.

For users in China, this does not affect the experience. Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, and other supporting applications could not be used normally in China. Huawei and other mobile phone manufacturers stopped installing these supporting applications provided by Google in the Chinese market seven years ago.

However, for most users in the international market, these supporting applications are indispensable, especially the Google PLAY store, which is almost regarded as part of the Android operating system. Many third-party applications also rely on Google Framework services.

This will also be the first time that the Trump administration’s sanctions against Huawei, issued in May this year, will be felt at the consumer level. The Trump administration announced a national security emergency in the communications industry. The US Department of Commerce then placed Huawei on the restricted entities list. All US companies must not do business with Huawei unless they have special permission from the US government.

According to the ban, all non-open source Google software products are not available for pre-installation on Huawei mobile phones. Although the core part of the Android operating system (AOSP, sometimes called the public version of Android) is open-source software, non-open source applications such as GMAIL, Google Maps, Google PLAY Store, Google Framework Services, etc. require Google license.

This ban is mainly applicable to Huawei’s new mobile phones. The models that have been listed before the ban are temporarily unaffected.

Huawei recently said in an interview with journalists that its smartphones and tablet products that have already been sold or have been shipped into global inventory will continue to receive services such as security updates and after-sales support. “As an important global Android partner, Huawei has made important contributions to the opening and growth of the Android system, working closely with the Android open-source platform to create an ecosystem that benefits both users and the industry. Huawei will continue to be committed to building a safe and secure environment. A continuous software ecosystem that delivers the best experience for all users worldwide.”

However, in an interview with the Frankfurter News, Huawei also stressed, “the company will continue to use the Android operating system and the Android ecosystem— as long as the US government agrees.”

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is a financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the U.S. Treasury Department. It administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives.

According to the current information, Huawei Mate 30 will definitely not pre-install non-open source applications such as Google PLAY Store and Google Framework Service, but will still be equipped with the open-source Android operating system.

It is worth noting that the US Department of Commerce has given companies such as Google a certain grace period, and recently extended the grace period to November 19. In theory, Google can still provide pre-installed licenses for supporting applications for Huawei Mate 30 phones. It is unclear whether Google’s “discontinuation” in advance is forced by Commerce Department pressure or to actively cater to the Trump administration.

It is also unclear whether users who purchased Mate 30 will be able to install Google’s companion app.

However, even if the new mobile phone is not selling well in overseas markets due to the lack of Google pre-installed applications, Huawei’s overall performance will not be greatly affected. More than half of Huawei’s mobile phone business is in China’s domestic market. According to data from market research firm Canalys, Huawei’s mobile phone market share in China’s domestic market reached 38%. Although the Chinese mobile phone market is shrinking in the past two years, Huawei’s sales are still growing.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.


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