Smartphones have come to Kagoo and we now have support for all major models - from iPhones to the Samsung Galaxy, and everything in between. Of the many different types of smartphone available, one of the brands that has seen rapid growth over the last few years is the Chinese company Huawei.
Huawei have built up a strong following through high-spec phones, competitive prices and a strong focus on 5G architecture. Many of their ranges have been well-received, and the recent P40 series has garnered critical acclaim.
With all that said, there is also an important consideration before you buy a Huawei handset: they currently have no access to Google services. This means they have a substantially reduced selection of services and apps, with many popular apps unsupported by the phones.
This is an ongoing situation, and it’s unclear how long it will last - it’s possible the ban may be reversed in the future, or it may be permanent.
The ban is the result of a messy ‘trade war’ between the US and China. In 2019 (thankfully ex-) President Trump accused China of unfair business practices, IP theft and national security issues. This led to the creation of an ‘Entity List’ with the names of several Chinese companies - Huawei among them. These companies were banned from doing business with US companies, and had strong export restrictions imposed on them. This had substantial effects - one of the largest being that Google removed Huawei’s access to the Google Services.
‘Google Services’ is the collective name for the suite of programs and utilities developed by Google. These include Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Docs, Google Play Store, and many more.
As a direct result of the ban, all new Huawei phones since mid-2020 have been released without any of Google’s principle services, and cannot officially get them. This means Huawei users have no access to Gmail, Google Maps, or any other Google service. Crucially, it also cuts off access to the Google Play Store, which is the main app store for all Android apps.
Without access to the Google Play Store, Huawei users cannot download or use the majority of available Android apps, even by backdoor means. These include hugely popular apps such as Facebook, Spotify or many banking apps. Put simply, current Huawei phones have been hamstrung, and Kagoo would highly recommend careful consideration before purchasing one.
It’s unclear how long this situation will last - while Trump has been removed from power, current president Joe Biden has made moves to reverse the ban. For Huawei’s part, they have opened their own app store, called the ‘AppGallery’. While it currently is rather sparse, they have promised to widen the selection in the coming months. That said, they have a lot of catching up to do in order to provide even a fraction of the Google Play Store’s selection.
They have also made moves to develop their own Operating System, known as ‘HarmonyOS’. This is reported to make its debut in April 2021 with Hauwei’s Huawei Mate X2, P40 and Mate 40 series of devices. Time will tell whether this will prove a solid competitor to Android & iOS - certainly if HarmonyOS can capture the Chinese market, that will provide a substantial advantage in an enormous uphill battle to challenge Apple & Google.