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Doubt over Android being used on Huawei Mate 30 complicates upcoming launch

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Google has said the forthcoming Huawei Mate 30 smartphone may not come with Google apps or services onboard, due to the ongoing ban against U.S. firms trading with the Chinese smartphone company. An unnamed spokesperson told Reuters that the phone, which has not been officially announced yet, “cannot be sold with the licensed version of Android and associated Google apps and services,” because of the situation.

Although the temporary license given to Huawei to continue working with U.S. suppliers has recently been extended, it does not apply here, according to the spokesperson. Previously, the temporary license allowed Huawei to incorporate Android and the official Google apps into new phones it had already announced. The list included the Mate X folding smartphone, and the Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro. It could also secure crucial updates for its existing phones.

Because the Mate 30 series has not been announced, it apparently does not fall under the scope of the license. This means Huawei will be working hard to find a solution to the problem, or face launching the Mate 30 series outside China without Google services. One solution could come from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has stated it will review license applications from U.S. firms wanting to trade with Huawei. However, it has not granted any licenses yet, and it’s not known if Google has applied for one.

Confident it can find solution

Huawei has remained confident since the start of the ban that it can keep using Android on its phones, although it has never been clear about how it intends to do this. It has also hinted the Mate 30 will use full Android. Google has also said it wishes to continue working with Huawei, which its unsurprising given the brand’s popularity — even with a drop in growth, Huawei is still a top-three manufacturer in Europe.

Android with Google Services and apps — that includes everything from Google Pay to Google Maps — is essential to the Mate 30’s launch and success outside China. Inside China, the phone won’t come with these things anyway, so it will still be sold there regardless. Huawei understands this, and a solution will be its top priority; but time is running out, as an anonymous source speaking to Reuters claims the phone will be announced on September 18.

Huawei will be ready to go though, and has already announced EMUI 10, its own user interface built over Android 10. This will arrive first as a beta on the Huawei P30 Pro, but is also certain to be used on the Mate 30 series. Huawei may have more to say at the IFA 2019 technology trade show, where it will hold a press conference for its latest processor announcement. Huawei Business Group chairman Richard Yu has gone off-script during challenging times before, so it’ll be one to watch.

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