Huawei has confirmed at the 2019 IFA conference in Berlin that although the Mate 30 series will come with Android 10 pre-installed, the devices will not host any Google apps when the phone launches on September 19.
Google previously confirmed the app exclusion after months of turmoil amid US President Trump’s allegations of Huawei infrastructure being used to spy on citizens, resulting in a ban on US companies (like Google) working with Chinese companies (like Huawei).
In Berlin, Huawei’s president of consumer software, Dr Wang Chenglu, told attendees the Mate 30 series would run with Android 10 software but Google apps would not be available at launch, according to Ausdroid.
Instead, Huawei would find or develop alternatives for the device, which is due to launch on September 19, so users would be able to use apps with a familiar interface. First-party Google apps like Google Maps and Gmail would not be available but it’s expected Gmail accounts could still be accessed through an alternative email client, similar to how other Android and iOS devices work.
It’s not ideal, but it’s a solid workaround for the company who has been hit with crippling bans from the Trump administration.
In August 2018, Huawei was dealt its first blow when a federal law banning the US government from purchasing the company’s infrastructure (as well as other Chinese businesses like ZTE) was put in place. Trump, who signed the law into effect, pointed to Huawei’s close ties with the Chinese government and alleged its infrastructure could provide foreign governments with a way to spy on the US government and its citizens. It’s a claim Huawei strenuously denies.
Trump later banned US companies from working with Huawei on May 15, which means it can no longer work with Google on devices such as the Mate 30.
Huawei confirmed to Lifehacker Australia in September it would still like to use Android but it was dependent on whether the US government continued the ban.
“We will continue to use the Android OS and ecosystem if the US government allows us to do so,” a Huawei spokesperson said.
“Otherwise, we will continue to develop our own operating system and ecosystem. Huawei has been present in Australia for fifteen years and the market remains a priority. As always, we will strive to bring our best innovations to our loyal Australian consumers.”
It’s likely we’ll have a better idea of the full extent of the ban when the Mate 30 is released later this month.