Huawei got caught in the middle of the US/China trade war and has been cut off from Google's apps and services for more than half a year now. That forced the company to quickly create a Google-less Android variant to ensure phones like the Mate 30 Pro could ship. Even though it looks like the US and China are coming to terms with each other and Huawei's ban might be lifted soon, the manufacturer has told Austrian newspaper Der Standard that it still won't return to Google's services.
Huawei's Austrian country manager Fred Wangfei says the company wants to get rid of its dependence on US politics, as no one could tell if there would be another blockade following the current one. That's why the manufacturer's stated goal is the creation of a third smartphone ecosystem next to Android and iOS.
In both the long and short term, Huawei wants its version of Android to stay as close as possible to Google's to burden app developers with little to no additional work. That's why it's currently hard-pressed to properly recreate Google Play Services functionality, which offers APIs that allow apps to receive push notifications and location services. Huawei tells Standard that it already replicates the most essential 24 out of 60 individual APIs through its Huawei Mobile Services alternative thanks to a team of 4,000 developers.
The company would also be happy to welcome US apps like Facebook and WhatsApp in its Play Store alternative App Gallery. Since US companies currently aren't allowed to trade with Huawei, the manufacturer wants to found a proxy-corporation in Europe that those businesses could work with.
Despite its positive outlook on the future, Huawei knows that becoming independent will be a hard feat. It expects that the lack of Google apps will lower its market share initially. Its three-billion-dollar investments in Huawei Mobile Services and additional one-billion-dollar expenses for international ad campaigns promoting its Google-less future probably won't help the company stay in the black, either.
Following this news, Huawei has provided us with the following statement:
An open Android ecosystem is still our first choice, but if we are not able to continue to use it, we have the ability to develop our own.
In content, this response from the company doesn't deny the original statements it made regarding excluding Google apps and services from future devices. We frankly read this as confirmation, otherwise the company would have offered some sort of retraction — though perhaps it could change its mind in the future if a decision like this puts a bigger dent on its recent successes.
Either way, it's basically a non-statement.
- Der Standard