Huawei Launches Mate 30 Series Without Google Apps

Posted on September 19, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 21 Comments

Credit: Reuters

As expected, Huawei launched the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro smartphones today. But the new handsets will ship sans Google apps, thanks to a U.S. governmental blacklisting.

The handsets are both technically impressive, especially the Mate 30 Pro, which boasts a quad-lens camera system with a 40 MP primary sensor, an edge-to-edge “horizon” display with elegantly curved sides, and the Kirin 990 5G system on a chip (SoC).

But the big news, of course, is that the Mate 30 series utilizes the open source version of Android and doesn’t ship with core Google apps like the Google Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube. Huawei didn’t discussed the Google issue during the launch, but some have speculated that it will use so-called “stub” apps on the phones, as it does with certain models in China, that will auto-update to the real Google apps when the user activates the phones. Huawei officials have only said that it will be “quite easy” for users to get the apps.

I’ll report back when we know more, but the lack of built-in Google apps, plus uncertainty about Huawei’s future in smartphones generally, is sure to hurt sales, especially outside of China.

Huawei will also announce new fitness trackers, smart watches, TVs, and tablets at the event.

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Comments (21)

21 responses to “Huawei Launches Mate 30 Series Without Google Apps”

  1. bart

    Will be very curious to see whether you can set other apps as default Mail, Calendar, etc.

  2. dcdevito

    that's a shame

  3. F4IL

    Nice! Naturally etailers could easily ship these with the playstore pre-installed, just like they do with devices meant only for the Chinese market.

  4. lprell

    It is going to be interesting to folow up this one. Of course apps could be easily installed but what about Google Play Services? For what I know (I'm not an expert though) Android phones rely on GPS for notifications, GPS, location and so on. Maybe Huawei has it's own solution? I mean, ask to a non-tech person to understand rooting, sideload, apk install is just a no-go.

    • PeterC

      In reply to lprell:

      It’s always worth remembering that China has some 700 million or more smartphone users who don’t have access to google play store or apps anyway.... they use Chinese based app stores. Export huawei models had google play store etc. These are the devices where there will be sales downturns. The US trade ban oddly is now forcing huawei to now develop its own App Store to cater to European and other western regional users, and today they announced a $1.5 billion developer program for app coders to develop for them. That’s huge.

  5. dontbeevil

    love it, unfortunately I bought a p30 pro few months ago with scroogle apps, hopefully futur P series also will come without spybloatware

  6. wright_is

    No Google apps means I don't have to disable them when I configure the phone. I see that as a plus...

    • PeterC

      In reply to wright_is:

      I gotta be honest, this is my opinion too. I usually have to flash lineage os onto a oneplus for this type of handset, or sailfish onto an Xperia device. Now if I buy this I get a great designed handset, awesome camera, fabulous screen and no google. If they do similar with mid range Honor branded devices I know so many companies who’d buy them for the same reason.

      We so desperately need a 3rd mobile os alternative, or an EU based app store/os alternative, but this is just as good. I honestly think they will succeed in their huawei app store, not in the US obviously, but I see that as a bonus really. Breaking free of US tech dominance is much needed but it will take time, but their home market sales alone will ensure success, I’m just surprised they didn’t make one mate 30 variant harmony os based, I thought/understood the lite version would be EMUI 10 on harmony os...

  7. Vladimir Carli

    I am not sure they will be hurt so much by this. Here in Sweden people are lining up tu buy them anyway. As long as it's possible to install google apps they are safe in Europe. What could hurt them a lot is the ARM licensing issue. I don't really know how they are going to go around that when their supply of chips will run low

    • bart

      In reply to Vladimir:

      Is Kirin an ARM chip?

      • wright_is

        In reply to Bart:

        Yes it is an ARM based chip.

        They have a perpetual license to use the current design, but due to the US sanctions, ARM have stopped support and won't let them use future designs. That is why they are looking at open source alternatives to ARM, like RISC-V, so that they can continue to innovate.

        If the sanctions are dropped, they might be able to go back to using ARM, but the question, after this punative action, would they want to go back to using an architecture controlled by foreign government?

        It is certainly a big question in Europe at the moment, if a foreign power (USA) can affect your ability to do business, why would you use anything that is tainted by US influence (or any other major power)?

        Maybe we are looking at a near future, where globalism fails and we return to local manufacturing expertise and locally manufactured goods... Not necessarily a bad thing.

      • Vladimir Carli

        In reply to Bart:

        I believe Kirin is built by Huawei on the basis of a licensing agreement with ARM. ARM is British but they already said that they will apply the ban. As far as I understand the only option for Huawei would be to go rogue and continue producing chips anyway. But that sounds problematic

        • wright_is

          In reply to Vladimir:

          ARM is Japanese, it was British but it is now owned by SoftBank. But it uses some technology that is affected by US patents and therefore falls foul of the USA ban on selling to certain Chinese companies.

        • PeterC

          In reply to Vladimir:

          Kirin is produced by hisilicon, a huawei company. The chips are manufactured by TSMC who also manufacture apples A series chips. There are a number of arm licensed chips in the pipeline which were licensed prior to the ban which whilst arm is a British company they were bought by Japans SoftBank a few years back. Due to some US IP involvment in the designs arm was “pressganged” to stop business ties with hisilicon.

          Huawei have a few lines of chip developments which already have perpetual licenses from arm holdings granted, and there has been massive investment in the last 5 years in China for its own chip designs and manufacturing facilities too and now form part of their self reliance program.

        • lprell

          In reply to Vladimir:

          Didn't Huawei loose it's ARM license as part of this China-US issue?

          • Vladimir Carli

            In reply to lprell:

            I think they did. That's my point. Huawei stockpiled a significant amount of chips before the ban but the future looks problematic if they cannot license ARM any longer

          • PeterC

            In reply to lprell:

            No, they had to stop working on future chip designs, past chip designs are licensed in perpetuity. Component supply for manufacturing though is where the tough times will come for huawei, maybe.

      • Shane

        In reply to Bart:

        I'm no expert. But aren't all mobile chips based on the arm architecture and companies just and extras as they want.

  8. jwpear

    Looks like a nice device! Curious about these edge to edge displays. Does one see a lot of unintentional swipes/taps grabbing the edges of the device? Seems like that could be annoying if so. Are the edges more fragile given that the glass wraps around? And once you slap a case on them, doesn't that defeat the point of this design?

    This just seems like a gimmick, but I've not tried a device first hand to understand the benefit.

  9. brettscoast

    Thanks for the wrap Paul. What a pity these trade sanctions have put the kybosh and stunted to a certain extent these stunning smart phones from having full access to core google apps. Agreed this will certainly affect sales outside China which is too bad for those of us wanting a premier experience on the premier smart phones in the market.