Tech Talk: Huawei to launch first phone without popular Google Apps

Huawei’s next flagship smartphone will not come with Google’s popular apps including Maps and YouTube.

Google confirmed that due to a US government ban on sales to Huawei, it could not license its apps to the Chinese smartphone giant.

It also means the next Huawei phone will not have access to the Google Play app store, leaving customers excluded from part of the Android ecosystem.

The US government restricted American companies from selling products and services to Huawei in May, citing national security concerns, which Huawei denies.

President Donald Trump said last month that some exemptions would be allowed. But US officials have not granted any licences to trade with Huawei, despite receiving more than 130 requests.

The Android operating system is open-source software, so any manufacturer can offer it on their smartphone or tablet. But companies need an agreement with Google to include its popular apps such as Maps, Search, Photos, Play Store and YouTube.

According to BBC, Google has not said whether it has applied for a licence to offer its apps to Huawei. Huawei said in a statement: “Huawei will continue to use the Android OS and ecosystem if the US government allows us to do so. Otherwise, we will continue to develop our own operating system and ecosystem.”

It has set up a website named Huawei Answers to address consumer concerns about the company’s relationship with Android.

Huawei is just weeks away from launching its next flagship phone, the Mate 30 Pro. It will be Huawei’s first major phone launch since the US restrictions were applied in May 2019.

Analysts say launching without Google’s apps will be a major blow. Consumers expect to have access to all the major apps they are used to including Maps and YouTube. Without them, Huawei’s phones will seem a lot less appealing.

And losing the Play Store means Huawei will need to provide another way for customers to access other popular apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Earlier this month, as reported by The Sauce Huawei finally unveiled its own operating system dubbed Harmony, a move that could help shield the smartphone maker from the escalating US-China trade war.

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