It’s no secret that Huawei has been on top of everyone’s minds right now, especially since the release of the eye-catching Huawei Mate 30 series. Both affordable compared to the original price in China with a not-too-shabby curved display, it’s impossible to consider purchasing anything from Huawei without the prophetic “BUT”.
We’re all aware of the ongoing U.S. blacklist of the multibillion-dollar company and Google revoking its license to distribute Google Mobile Services (GMS) - where all your familiar apps from Google Play Store are. Reluctant, the U.S. technology giant was asked by the U.S. Government to throw up more roadblocks in view of the Entity List, a catalog of banned businesses.
Though the latest New York Times report indicates some concessions to granting leeway for companies like Google to resume business with Huawei in select areas.
Last year, however, the blanket ban knocked Huawei over to a steep $10 billion drop in international sales, botching any future attempts to modding the core system and surreptitiously sideloading Google apps.
No, old workarounds to revive Google on Huawei won’t work
Thanks to the complex political scenario, the wings of GMS installers from China are clipped from loading after-market apps (aka “stubb apps”) on top of the existing ones. For most consumers outside the Chinese market, the pre-Mate 30 handsets relied on LZPlay.net, a website with all the backdoor techniques and tools to power Google up on their phones. In order to do that, LZPLay needed permission and, unsurprisingly, they had a special Android agreement with Huawei to enable easy transfers.
Now, all of those perks have been halted by Google itself. Whether it’s the flickering LZPlay site or other third-party installers users resorting to unlicensed devices like Huawei, that’s all but possible in the Mate 30 package. Not to mention the SafetyNet test failures happening to their other device, the P30 pro, costing people their Google Pay and Netflix to even work.
While Huawei issued a statement later citing an update to the software fixed the SafetyNet tripping bug, it’s still disconcerting to know that your Huawei device could be at risk. If Google booted out Huawei from using its perennially popular apps ecosystem, the lingering question is this: are there legal and secure ways to address the Google-free apps?
The long of the short is, yes. But be prepared to make some changes away from your dependance on Google.
The namesake’s App Gallery could do the job
Launched in 2011 in China and to the world in 2018 along with the P20 series, the Huawei App Gallery serves the purpose of an app store and spans its coverage spread to over 100 countries in Asia alone.
Before we get to the specific app alternatives, it’s worth mentioning that App Gallery performs functions beyond Google Play Store’s abilities such as paying bills, in-app and ad-based profit making - for developers that is.
Consumers looking for convenience won’t be given the chance to gripe over issues of compatibility either, with the app store’s user-friendly interface and curated content to ensure safe-keeping of private data. Localisation of apps targeted to the region, in our case in Malaysia, is another targeted approach the App Gallery features. That’s right, the Mate 30 has got a promising platform for Malaysian gamers and they take it very seriously.
Alternative web browsers
Although the common Google Chrome browser is unavailable, there are alternative web browsers including Mozilla Firefox that predates the Chrome era. Among a host of strengths, it has the ability to sync with your desktop version and navigate the bookmark system very easily.
Another unheard of free browser app is Opera. With a solid user interface, you first come across a news feed page, built into the app so locating content won’t be a pain. Natives ads are also readily blocked at your disposal. What’s more is the ease with which you can save and compress data i.e., multimedia files. For a non-mainstream internet browser, it ticks all the boxes.
Looking for non-Whatsapp messagings apps
Something Malaysians may have a hard time accustoming themselves to is texting via a messaging app other than Whatsapp. Though the Facebook-owned mobile messenger has its fair share of privacy problems, migrating to other messaging platforms because the Mate 30 just doesn’t host it won’t be that different.
Within Huawei’s App Gallery, a featured communication app is WeChat. Not only widely used in China (and beyond) for its foolproof interface, but the built-in paying system that allows you to go cashless. Malaysia is WeChat Pay’s first client when it went global in 2018 so a QR-code based payment and a messaging function is like killing two birds with one stone.
Simultaneously, LINE, a Japanese-developed app - Whatsapp’s biggest competitor - is way ahead in terms of its privacy parameters and high-quality services like video-calling and a popular sticker market.
Cloud services aside from Google Drive
It may sound frustrating for working professionals to do away with the default G-Suite offices commonly use, but there are existing cloud services that more or less serve the same purpose.
Dropbox - second to Google, of course - is one of the most popular and easy-to-use cloud service businesses that not only includes a free trial of up to 2GB but compatible features with any handset software. It’s so portable than it even comes with smartwatch features.
Indeed, the App Gallery offers an abundance of alternatives such as, Office 365 and WPS Office (formally known as Kingsoft Office) to store and organise files hassle-free. Having said that, users need not roam too far from Huawei’s first-party cloud service. Called Huawei Mobile Cloud, users receive 5GB of free cloud storage with affordable upgrade plans of up to 2TB.
It’s especially useful for long-time Huawei users to smoothly transfer their data from one phone to another.
Sharing and viewing videos for free
Amassing more visits than Yahoo! And Bing combined is the unrivaled Youtube. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have shortcomings and restrictions tied to Google’s policies.
Other non-American video mediums include DailyMotion and Tudou, the former’s less crowded users community and the latter’s Asia-targeted market make it more palatable for the Malaysian audience. And the latter’s is known as this continent’s Youtube equivalent.
It’s certainly undeniable that without the core apps and services, re-acclimating to an Android experience is a given if Huawei fans are willing to sacrifice their loyalty to the ubiquitous Google. But this is a position Huawei knows all too well in China and the global market is only beginning to feel the impact now.
Article written by Fatima Qureshi