As the U.S. blacklist against Huawei is still continuing despite early reports that they might step back, the Chinese OEM is trying to find ways to get around that and still have Google apps available on their devices. Currently, since Huawei is on the Entity List, Google is not allowed to license their Android mobile operating system and their apps to their devices. Eric Xu, Huawei’s rotating chairman, is still hoping that they will be able to make Google apps available even through their own app store.
Because of the aforementioned blacklisting, the recently launched flagship devices, the Mate 30 and P40, were released without any of the licensed Google apps pre-installed on the device. The P40 for example is running on an open source version of Android. And since Google also couldn’t license their Google Play Store, Huawei had to come up with their own app store called AppGallery. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a lot of apps there for now as they’re still trying to get developers on board.
Xu told CNBC that they are hoping that Google services will be available on the AppGallery, similar to how Google apps can be used on iOS devices through the Apple App Store. While the non-availability of Google products doesn’t have an effect on their Chinese market (Google has no presence there in the first place), it is a big deal for their international market as things like Gmail, Google Calendar, etc, are important for their users.
While Huawei has been preparing for a life without Google in case the ban remains, they are still hoping that they will be able to work with the tech giant in some capacity. Huawei has already launched their own operating system called HarmonyOS, although we have yet to see a device that is running it, whether on their smartphones or other devices like smart TVs. This idea floated by Xu is a new thing that can be explored.
How that will happen even with the blacklisting still in place is still anyone’s guess. Google has not responded yet to the report so we don’t know if there can be merit in this last-ditch attempt by Huawei to still play nice.