Huawei has had a rough 2019. It started out well enough with the launch of the excellent P30 and P30 Pro, but it quickly went downhill when President Donald Trump and the US Government, in a move motivated by security concerns about Huawei’s relationship with the Chinese government but also potentially motivated by the continuing US-China trade war, added Huawei to a list of companies banned from doing business with American companies.
This move stymied Huawei’s relationship with key partners like Google and prevented com the company from putting the Google Play store on newer phones. But Huawei is still not limiting its plans for the future.
According to a report from The Information (via Android Authority), which cites Huawei employees familiar with the company’s plans, Huawei intends the P40 to have a global launch and is trying to encourage developers to use its internally developed replacements for Google’s services.
The previous major phone launched by Huawei, the Mate 30, is also intended to have a global release, but while it is now appearing on store shelves around Europe, there is still no sign of a UK release date, while an American release was never planned.
Like the Mate 30, the P40, having been released after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to the ‘Entities List’, will not have the required permissions to come bundled with the standard Google apps, including the Google Play Store, although Huawei can still use the open-source version of Android as a basis for its EMUI operating system.
A potential way around this would be to make only minor changes to the P30, as a device substantially similar to this already approved phone would not need reapproving by Google, and could use the full fat version of Android, including Android 10.
While the US Department of Commerce has today extended Huawei’s temporary license to do business with US telecoms companies, this limited-terms agreement does not help its situation with Google whatsoever. It may be interpreted as a sign of good faith from the US government, though, and point towards an eventual removal from the entities list.
As things stand, Huawei either needs to rapidly expand its own app ecosystem and then persuade users to get on board, or make only surface-level changes to the P30 when making the P40. Otherwise it may find itself with another fantastic-but-hard-to-sell phone like the Mate 30.