Huawei Mate X Could Launch Next Month But Won't Have Google's Android

Advertisement
Advertisement

Huawei is preparing the launch of its flagships, the expected Huawei Mate 30 and the upcoming Mate X foldable, but in either case, the Shenzhen-based manufacturer will have to find its software somewhere else. Like the upcoming Mate 30, Huawei's Mate X foldable smartphone will not carry Google's Android.

Sales impacted by the Mate X's lack of Google app access

The Huawei Mate X, a $2,600 foldable smartphone, was expected to sell well because Google's Android is the world's most popular mobile operating system. Now, Huawei is forced to use its own HarmonyOS (called HongMeng in China), a fledgling operating system that'll need two to three years to become formidable. The Mate X could launch as soon as next month, with the Mate X shipping to buyers in November according to Huawei consumer business group CEO Richard Yu.

Though Android is by nature open-source, and anyone can use AOSP, Google's Android provides something of a tailored experience with apps such as Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Google Drive, and the integration of Gmail and your contacts that lets you transfer contacts from phone to phone effortlessly. AOSP is truly barebones compared to Google's own tailored experience, though it is the only option available to Huawei if it intends to stick with Android software on its devices. AOSP will come without Google apps, however, so there's that.

Advertisement

Android is a staple operating system for consumers in Europe, for example, Huawei's largest consumer base outside its home country, China, and sales of Huawei phones have already started declining since mid-May when US President Donald Trump placed Huawei on the US Entity List and blacklisted the company from buying and selling in the US.

In Germany and Spain, for example, sales declined by as much as 40%. Analysts say that the lack of Android access on all Huawei phones moving forward, with the Mate X and the mainstream flagship Mate series (the Mate 30), means that Huawei will undersell by 13 million smartphones this year. With the US seeing Huawei as a national security threat, alongside of evidence of trade theft and espionage with African countries Uganda and Zambia, Huawei's Android license has gone the way of the dinosaur.

The Mate X as a foldable costing $2,600, is already a hard sell by sheer price alone; add in the lack of Google apps access for the European market, and you've got nothing short of an impossible buy.

Advertisement

Huawei Mate X powered by HarmonyOS

HarmonyOS is Huawei's new operating system that the company had said at one time was only for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, not mobile devices. At the time Huawei reserved HarmonyOS for IoT, it did so hoping that the political divide between China and the US would end and that it would be welcomed back into Google's Android OEM fold. Well, unfortunately for Huawei, that didn't happen. Though Huawei was given a 90-day reprieve back in mid-May, and was given another 90-day reprieve now through November 19th, the company has not been welcomed back into Android since Google revoked Huawei's Android license just days after the Trump Ban.

HarmonyOS is open-source in order to encourage adoption. The OS is fledgling, but sources say it has been in the works for the last seven years, designed as an alternative in the event the company should find itself banned from using Android. HarmonyOS has been tested out on the Mate 30 as well as devices from fellow Chinese Android OEMs Oppo and Vivo and was found to be 60% faster than Android.

Huawei reincarnates the P30 Pro, keeps Android software alive

Huawei took to the stage at IFA 2019 this week to announce that Google's latest Android 10 system update is coming to the P30 Pro, Huawei's most prestigious photography smartphone yet, but it will be the P30 Pro's last Android system update.

Advertisement

For a phone costing around $1,000-$1100 that was just unveiled in March of this year, that's a short life for what many believe to be Huawei's best device yet. Perhaps Huawei is marketing the P30 Pro with two new colors, Misty Lavender and Mystic Blue, to keep the Android-powered smartphone (the only one left standing, I'm afraid) alive in its lineup for as long as possible.