Sep 20th, 2019

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro was just announced, and it looks awesome. It’s everything you expect a flagship to be, and more. It features a 6.53-inch 1176p AMOLED display, a Kirin 990 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, quad rear cameras, dual front facing cameras, a 4,500 mAh battery, and a lot more.

Extras include 40 watt SuperCharging, 27 watt fast wireless charging, an in-display fingerprint sensor, Android 10 out of the box, IP68 water resistance, and a virtual volume rocker. The display rocks an 88 degree curve for maximum real estate and the notch, while still present, has been shrunken down. You can also get it with 5G connectivity.

There’s one thing that’s missing though, and it could be the reason the device fails in any Western market. The device has no Google Play Services, which means no Gmail, no YouTube, and no Play Store. That last part is important because it means that you don’t have access to any of your favorite apps, both paid and free. You can’t use any service Google provides outside of your browser.

This is due to the fact that Huawei is still on the US Entity List, which prevents it from trading with US companies. This means that Google will not provide access to the app suite to Huawei. Android itself is fine though, as it’s open source and open to all.

On one hand, it’s just an app store. The device itself is amazing. We still have Android 10 running the show, and the hardware is potent, so how can access to Google keep it back all that much? On the other, many of our lives reside with Google. Everything from all of our email accounts, to Google Photos, and every app we’ve ever purchased from the Play Store… we rely on Google’s app suite to use our phone. Without it, we’re just left with a glass slab that can text and make calls.

To be fair, the device does come with a China-centric app store. This will be perfectly adequate for the Chinese market, as Google’s services have no presence there at all. So to the companies home country, this will make no difference. But for much of the Western market, this could be the reason people stay away. After all, if you can’t easily find and install the apps you use every day, how truly useful is your new $1200 smartphone?

Without the Play Store, we’ll likely see the Mate 30 Pro fail in the Western market. People know enough to know how important the Play Store is, and if they bought it not knowing, well the realization is likely going to make them return it quick and grab that new Samsung.

Or we could see a success story, though I can’t imagine this is too likely. Maybe with enough third party apps in its own app store, Huawei to sway the average person with a light reliance on apps to make the switch and forego the Googly side of Android smartphones. And enthusiasts who love the hardware and that sweet quad camera setup could always find a way to sideload Google services.

We may even see Huawei add Play Store access to the device at a later time. Google has shown a desire to work with Huawei, but the US government is standing in the way. A deal may very well be worked out at some point and let Huawei use the Google Play Services, which may mean those who bought Mate 30 Pros will be receiving a major update.

It’s hard to tell what exactly will happen. The success of the device outside of China could go either way, but success is not an impossible option. We’ll just have to wait and see, and hope for a resolution between Huawei and the US government soon. I want my Mate 30 Pro with the Play Store dammit!