Huawei may have launched a new version of its P30 Lite smartphone to still sell a Google Play Store-enabled device, but the Chinese OEM has a real problem: it is banned from the Google Play Store for future phones. This is driving the company to develop its own App Store, with a $26 million pot available for British and Irish developers interested in App Gallery development.
App Gallery and $26 million: why now?
Huawei wants to grow its own App Gallery app store because it's the only way the company can continue to churn out new devices and entice consumers to buy them. It goes without saying in the consumer market, but it's worth repeating: the greatest hardware without software (apps) is nothing more than a shiny paperweight. Consumers don't want a device that looks good but does very little when you power it on. This means that Huawei, being banned from Google's Android (not AOSP) and the Google Play Store, must find its own alternative workaround to stay competitive in a high-stakes market.
Huawei is trying to market itself as the better OS owner than Google by stating that it only takes a 15% revenue cut for apps as opposed to Google's 30% revenue cut from the Play Store, and that it won't allow as many spam notifications as Google's Android
How did Huawei get banned from Google's Android and Google Play?
How did Huawei, once a Google's Android OEM, get banned from Google's Android and Google Play?
It all started last May when US President Donald Trump declared a national ban on Huawei, forbidding American merchants to sell to Huawei and forbidding Huawei to sell its goods and services in the country. That didn't stop Huawei from trying to work around the national ban, even going so far as to disguise its smartphones in order to smuggle them across the Mexico-US border and sell them illegally in the US.
The Huawei Ban started last May has been drastic for Huawei. The Chinese OEM once known as a potential disruptor to Samsung's global success in the consumer market was forbidden access to Google's Android and Google Play because it is considered to be a spy entity for the Chinese Government (Beijing). With unfettered access to an American operating system, there's no telling what Huawei could discover or obtain that could prove detrimental to American consumers. And American consumers purchasing "Chinese spy tools" would harm American citizens by denying them a right to Amerian notions of mobile security and privacy.
Is Huawei's loss of Google's Android and Play Store access a big deal?
Is the Huawei Ban a big deal? Yes, for Huawei. There are two things that are undeniable: first, Huawei's success has come from selling phones that run Google's Android. Though Huawei has always had access to AOSP (Android Open Source Project), it is virtually undeveloped and is a work of personal responsibility if an OEM wanted to use it for its consumer base. Google's Android comes pre-loaded with Google's famous apps such as Gmail, Maps, Google Play, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Photos, and other apps, and it is these apps that Android consumers have come to prefer most. Sell a smartphone to Android consumers sans Google apps, and Android users feel as if they're in a mobile barren wasteland.
Huawei unveiled a P30 Lite (2020) version, called "P30 Lite New Edition," this week because it has Google apps and Play Store access — something the rest of its 2019 lineup lacks. And Huawei rival Samsung hasn't been modest about Huawei's unfortunate state: the same day the company unveiled its Mate 30, Samsung emerged with an email to Latin American customers that said, "Enjoy apps, updates, and Google services on the Galaxy Note 10," a kick in the gut to Huawei's Ban and mobile misfortune. For Samsung, Huawei's mobile misfortune is a huge deal: it has helped Samsung regain in Latin American markets where it once saw major decline. So Samsung is literally profiting at Huawei's expense.
In recent months, Huawei has been courting Google Play Store developers to come and develop apps for its App Gallery app store. Now, out of Google's Android and up the mobile creek without an OS paddle, Huawei's got to get some app development going.
That is, if Harmony OS (known in China as "HongMeng") will ever get off the ground. With $26 million at stake, Huawei has 26 million reasons to lure developers. Whether or not the Chinese OEM will achieve its goal is for the future to unravel.