What does the US ban mean for potential Huawei customers?
We have been hearing much chatter regarding the latest releases of Huawei phones without google support, but not everyone is talking about how it will affect the end-user in terms of regular usage. It’s time to face reality and bid farewell to an amazing brand that still offers the best hardware.
Current status of Huawei and the US debacle
Let’s first discuss the current status of Huawei and the US debacle in the light of statements of the officials.
Back in May 2019, the world came across shocking news that, as per Trump’s orders, Google had to cut ties with Huawei, and its Google Mobile Services (GMS) would only be accessible to the existing Huawei devices.
“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications. For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”
After this decision, to date, Huawei has been able to use only the open-source version of Android on the devices released after this announcement. The US-China trade war has not only affected Huawei, but Google is also losing in its business.
As per the latest update, Google has applied for a licence to trade with the second-largest smartphone maker – Huawei.
Moreover, recently an article surfaced on GSM Arena, stating that Huawei remains banned from doing business with US companies for another year.
So, the picture is unclear yet, and one should make an informed decision based on Huawei’s post-US-China trade war devices and their resale value in Pakistan.
Issues with Huawei’s new devices
We are so used to Google in daily life that thinking of a device without it, pops up the question, “Is it even workable?”
The missing Google’s Play Store in Huawei’s new smartphones is a daunting challenge. It requires users to manually download and update even some of the widely acclaimed essential apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Skype, Facebook and Twitter etc. through Huawei’s phone clone or play store alternatives. The experienced and tech-savvy smartphone users can find their way of installing the missing apps; contrary to that, it is a troublesome activity for the category of users who merely know to install apps from Google Play Store in a few clicks.
Huawei Phones without Google Support
Google warned Huawei users having uncertified devices
Moreover, the cyberattacks ratio is already growing all across the world. Hackers see the missing Google apps from Huawei’s newer smartphones as an opportunity to induce malware in user smartphones. Recently, Google has warned the users of Huawei Smartphones not to install their apps from unverified sources as it includes a high risk of being infected with malware and several viruses.
“Sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably because we do not allow these services to run on uncertified devices where security may be compromised. Sideloading Google’s apps also carry a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security.” – Google’s official statement
HMS vs GMS – AppGallery vs Google’s Play Store
At Trump’s announcement, the already ongoing project of Huawei’s official app store – AppGallery came to surface and got the attention of the masses. The second-largest smartphone maker was very confident about AppGallery’s success and it still believes to compete with Google’s Play Store.
As per Bloomberg, Huawei told its partners that by 2018, 50 million Europeans would be using its App Store instead of Google’s. Now, Huawei claims 400 million users have the AppGallery that has ranked it at 3rd position in app stores. Well, it comes pre-installed on Huawei devices, so it is difficult to say how many users are “actively” accessing it.
Huawei’s app store is getting better and the company claims that users can download and run most of the apps, but the question is about the big titles that are still missing, including (Facebook) Messenger, Netflix, and Instagram. Then there comes the hub of widely used Google Apps – Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos that are also missing.
Developers from all around the world are called by Huawei to contribute to their app store. However, the wave of uncertainty is holding them back due to the fact that either it is worth spending their time or not. As, in the past, we have seen Microsoft’s and BlackBerry’s app store failure.
Which apps are available on Huawei App Gallery?
- Zoom – No
- Houseparty – No
- Disney+ – No
- Microsoft Teams – No but Microsoft Office, Swiftkey, Bing and Microsoft News are available so it’s probably only a matter of time.
- TikTok – Yes
- WhatsApp – No
- Skype – Yes, in the form of Skype Lite.
- Messenger – No
- BBC News – No
- Instagram – No
- Netflix – No
- Microsoft Outlook – No but see Microsoft note above
- Tesco Grocery – No
- Uber Eats – No (and no Uber)
- Audible – No
- Asda – No
- Twitter – No
- Snapchat – Yes
- Sky News – No
- NHS – No
- Prime Video – No but as the main Amazon Shopping app is present, we’d expect this at some point.
- Discord – No
- Just Eat – Yes
- Facebook – No
- Morrisons – No
- Spotify – No
- BBC iPlayer – No
- Twitch – No
- Deliveroo – Yes
- Duolingo – No
- eBay – No
- Amazon Shopping – Yes
To or not to buy Huawei Phones?
So in layman terms, we could say that Huawei phones still offer the best hardware at an affordable price, but they are not worth buying anymore because all the major digital platforms are not allowed to do business with Huawei. It is not just about Google services but, imagine a flagship phone without the official support of Google, Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Microsoft, and the list goes on.
I mean, yes, there are ways that you can sideload the apps, but these are just workarounds and do not change the fact that US companies are not allowed to do business with Huawei. Recently, Wall street journal also published an article “Huawei Struggles to Get Along Without Google,” the article revolves around the fact that Huawei has found out many workarounds but still finding it challenging to replace google.
Should You Buy Huawei Phones especially In Pakistan?
“Should I buy a Huawei phone amid the US-China trade war?” This question is revolving in the mind of the loyal Pakistani Huawei users. They can only decide after knowing potential problems using new Huawei devices and Huawei’s resale market in Pakistan, which I have uncovered in this post.
If you are one of those who can survive without the official support of play services, that includes Gmail, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google docs, Google presentation, Google Calander, updating of apps, licensing, availability of popular games, etc., then Huawei is still a better option considering the price points and the hardware that they are offering.
Pakistan has Google Oriented market – Stats
Google has a 98.2% Search Engine market share & 40.39% OS market share in Pakistan against others The high ratio clearly shows the Pakistani market is not up for Non-Google Android phones. When the users think to resale their gadgets, then the Non-Google factor mows down their phone’s potential resale price despite the amazing hardware features of Huawei’s latest flagships.
We do not know the ultimate result of the US-China trade war. Up till now, the US Government has not given any clear soft signal regarding it. Huawei’s newer phones are coming without GMS, and users are facing difficulties in installing the previous Google Apps they were using, along with other apps who have a large market.
AppGallery is still developing but has not beaten Google Play Store, and it does not seem to compete for any soon. The unverified ways of installing Google Apps have high malware risks, and the largest search engine has officially warned Huawei users about it as well.
Considering that Microsoft & Blackberry are prime examples of failures when it came to building and flourishing their own OS, but here with Huawei, it not just the OS, it is about official support of giant companies that controls more than half the world’s digital data is missing from the picture.
In light of the aforementioned scenario, it is not a wise move to invest in Huawei’s newer smartphones to keep yourself out of warm waters.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or views of DND