We’ve just returned from IFA 2019 in Berlin where Huawei took the wraps off its brand new Kirin 990 processor that boasts a built-in 5G modem, a world first. But, with the Mate 30 launch fast approaching on September 19th, our attention was on Huawei’s Consumer Business Group CEO, Richard Yu, during a press briefing held after the keynote speech to see if he would shed some light on whether the company’s upcoming flagships would indeed be running Android, and if so, would Google’s vast array of apps be present.
Richard Yu was understandably as cagey as a cat on a hot tin roof when it came to giving a definitive answer to the question of whether the Mate 30 Pro and its siblings would launch with Google apps installed. Instead, he mused that Huawei was working on a solution to the issue that might see users able to sideload Google apps on to the AOSP version of Android running EMUI 10. He gave no details on how this might be possible, but he did say that it would be “quite easy” for users to do so. While questions were posed asking if it would be as easy as tapping on an icon on the home screen whereupon Google apps would be installed, Richard Yu refused to be drawn.
Android’s ability to sideload apps may make the possibility of manually installing Google apps a less than difficult task for the average user but will buyers be satisfied with this method of skirting the US ban? And what about updates and making sure the sideloaded apps are secure? What trustworthy entity will ensure that the Google apps are secure and haven’t been tampered with before being made available to download and install on the Mate 30 series of handsets? While Google didn’t really care too much in the past about custom ROM makers such as CyanogenMod pointing its users towards third-party curators of Google Apps (GApps), this is Huawei, a company that is currently prevented from certifying new handsets, and thus unable to install Google services on the Mate 30 series by law.
Who will help Huawei give its users access to Google apps? That’s a question that no one outside of Huawei knows the answer to. Whichever company or individual takes on the task of offering users the ability to download and install Google apps on to their new Mate 30 handset won’t be able to have ties to Huawei, nor to Google. Google isn’t able to knowingly provide its apps to the company or individual or it could be construed as attempting to bypass the US governments ban on trading with Huawei. It’s a complicated situation for sure, and one that Huawei fans are paying close attention to
We have just over a week to wait until the Mate 30 series is announced in Munich, Germany, where we’ll learn exactly how Huawei intends to solve the Google apps issue, and we’ll be on the ground at the event to bring you the low-down.