What happens when Huawei, a company that’s made some really incredible high-end Android devices is no longer allowed to use Google Play Services? Well, meet the Huawei P40 Pro, the latest offering from the company that runs Huawei Media Services and has its own AppGallery built-in. Trying to replace Google services on an Android-based phone is no easy task, but Huawei has put in some serious effort and has rallied behind its own offerings to bring the best possible experience to the new device for potential customers.
Back in May 2019, Huawei was placed on the entity list which prevented U.S. companies from doing business with it, and that meant that unfortunately, Huawei would no longer be able to offer Google Play Services on its future phones. Google Play Services are all the magic pieces behind the scenes that make Android devices work how they do now, including Google’s suite of apps, push notifications, and much more.
Huawei had been working on replacements for these, but the situation pushed that timeline ahead by a lot. The P40 Pro is the first release from the company that lives in a non-Google world, and all things considered, there is a lot to like about the software experience still. Huawei Media Services includes a suite of its own apps like AppGallery (where you download apps) as well as Huawei’s own Video, and Music app.
The AppGallery has a bunch of popular apps in it already, including things like Fortnite, TikTok, Amazon Shopping, Telegram, Snapchat, Deezer, and more. You can also easily install Facebook and WhatsApp via the links in AppGallery that take you to the respective sites for official installs. You can use the Phone Clone tool to copy apps from your current Android device to the P40 Pro, though it’s worth noting that not every single app will transfer. Stuff like personal finance and banking apps won’t make the move for security reasons since Phone Clone not only brings over the app itself, but it is also transferring all the data along with it.
In addition, Huawei is introducing a new search tool called “Petal Search - Find Apps” which will give you an easier way to find apps, media, and more right from your home screen. It is powered by 3rd-party partners like Yandex and Qwant and allows you to easily search for things right from your home screen. This means that all you have to do is enter the name of the app you are looking for and the app will search the AppGallery, developer’s websites, and trusted third-party stores to locate the APK for install. It’s rolling out to the P40 line now (and you can install it here) and will be available out of the box on future Huawei devices.
You can do the same for other things you would normally need an app to use. Simply head to YouTube.com, bookmark it, and then set the bookmark to your home screen. You don’t have the full app, but you have quick and easy access to your favorite videos and a way to watch them without much trouble. You can do the same for Google Maps, Google Docs, and other Google services you may want quick and easy access to.
If you are someone who gets lost easily or needs help driving between two places the lack of Google Maps may be concerning to you. Fear not, though. With great alternatives like Waze, HERE WeGo, Sygic, and more available for the P40 Pro, navigating is easy and you’ll probably hardly miss Google Maps.
In terms of software, the P40 Pro runs Huawei’s EMUI 10.1 interface, which is compiled on top of the open-source version of Android 10. It has all the other features and nuances that previous Huawei devices have had, along with some great improvements.
Google Chrome is easily replaced by Huawei’s own browser, or third-party options like Microsoft’s Edge browser, which operates similarly and gives a great overall experience. Recently it got built-in NewsGuard integration, which is another plus.
The hardware is, in typical Huawei fashion, top-notch as well. It features a 6.58-inch OLED display, 4200mAh battery, a crazy quad-camera set up on the back, and a 32MP front-facing shooter. It comes in three storage capacities (128GB, 256GB, and 512GB), all of which have 8GB of RAM inside. It’s powered by a Kirin 990 5G chip and just looks simply stunning.
While it may not offer the Android experience that you are used to using right now, the Huawei P40 Pro has a lot to like about it. Huawei continues to bring new apps to AppGallery and continues to refine the rest of the software suite which means that over time it will just continue to become an even better experience. There may be some apps that you think you’ll miss out on, but between the AppGallery, Phone Clone, Petal Search, and the ability to sideload APKs to the phone, you will likely find that most of your app needs are relatively easily met by the P40 Pro, even if it doesn’t have access to all of Google’s Services.