No Google Apps: Huawei Mate 30 Pro May Be Sunk Before It Ships

(Image credit: Huawei)

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is official. And even though it could very well set a new benchmark for mobile photography, and on paper might wind up being one of the most powerful flagship smartphones of 2019, none of that will matter.

Because just as everyone predicted, the Mate 30 won't have Google support.

That means no Google services, like Gmail, Photos and Docs. No Google apps, from YouTube to Calendar. Mate 30 owners won't be able to download them from the Play Store either, because the Mate 30 won't have access to the Play Store, and Huawei says you won't be able to sideload the Google Play Store onto your Mate 30. 

You will be able to sideload apps, though they won't auto-update as Play Store apps do. Hell, without Google Play Services to assist background updates and notifications, some apps may not even work at all.

And even if you can put aside all of those massive inconveniences, sideloading apps is dangerous. Software that isn't distributed by a trustworthy source like the Play Store aren't vetted and examined for safety, so Mate 30 owners could open themselves up to all sorts of data thievery if they go to seedy corners of the web to get their Google apps.

Of course, Huawei will likely push its own marketplace as a replacement. You won't find Google apps there either — or, for that matter, software from other American publishers forbidden by law from doing business with the Chinese tech giant.

Now, the Mate 30 Pro will still run Android and Huawei's EMUI interface. That's because Android is technically open source, and can be licensed without Google's involvement. However, if the U.S. Government's blacklist against Huawei persists, the phone maker will likely have to forge a path similar to what Amazon has done with its Fire devices. Those also run Android, just a heavily customized version derived from the Android Open Source Project. And they too lack Google's presence.

Amazon, of course, has quite a robust set of services of their own, that can contend with Google's in many respects. Huawei doesn't enjoy that sort of reach — and certainly not in the West. For that reason, the company will have to be very careful about where it sells the Mate 30. We're already hearing the device may make it to fewer countries within Europe than its predecessors did, and the U.K. might not be one of them.

The Mate 30 will ultimately be a test to see if Huawei really can survive in a world without Google's help. It'll be interesting to see how the company can adapt to this difficult situation. But for the tens of millions of users that rely on Google's services every day, the Mate 30 — no matter how powerful or beautiful it is, or how amazing its photos turn out to be — may have just become an impossible sell.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.