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.