Has Huawei survived a world without Google?

It’s been two years since Google services got yanked from Huawei devices, following US government putting the Chinese company on its entity list. It was a huge blow to Huawei, especially during a time when they’ve been aggressively working on Android phones and tablets.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro was the first flagship phone to be released without GMS.

For Huawei smartphone users, that meant losing essential apps like Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Play Store from their phones (or no more updates after May 16, 2019). In the preceding months, Huawei took a huge hit — sales dropped and interest in Huawei phones slumped. It seemed like the end of Huawei phones at that time. Those who are technically savvy were able to sideload Google apps into their Huawei phones but that did not last long as Google proactively blocked such attempts in succeeding updates.

Huawei immediately hatched a “Plan B”, their very own operating system called Harmony OS launched on August 19, 2019. Harmony OS was originally meant for Internet of Things (IoT) products but Huawei later on clarified that it will be available to all Huawei devices.

Yugatech 728x90 Reno7 Series

In 2021, Huawei eventually released Harmony OS 2.0 and installed it in some of its tablets like the MatePad Pro 12.6 which we reviewed here. However, we have yet to see a Huawei smartphone running Harmony OS and there hasn’t been any announcement either.

With no Google Play Store pre-installed, Huawei introduced the App Gallery and tried to attract as many developers to sign in and add their apps and games.

This pressure has forced the hand of Huawei to eventually sell its sub-brand, Honor, in November 2020.

Despite that, Huawei remains to be a contender in the smartphone market. The Huawei P40 series was launched in March 2020, the Mate 40 series in August of 2020, the Huawei P50 series in July 2021 — all without Google’s Mobile Services. People still bought them.

Huawei went thru a very rough patch these past two years but it’s still here, very much alive and thriving. Many other smartphone vendors would have crumbled and left to ashes if they went thru the same trouble as Huawei. But the Chinese company is just too big to concede defeat.

So yes, we think Huawei has survived a world without Google. Not without a scratch, mind you. It has proven its resilience, innovation, and adaptability and perhaps in due time, Huawei might just get back to the top spot in the near future.

We would like to hear from our readers — did the absence of Google services discourage you from considering/buying a Huawei smartphone the past?

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Avatar for Abe Olandres

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He is one of the pioneers of blogging in the country and considered by many as the Father of Tech Blogging in the Philippines. He is also a technology consultant, a tech columnist with several national publications, resource speaker and mentor/advisor to several start-up companies.

15 Responses

  1. Avatar for manigordo manigordo says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but a device without scroogle crap services it’s a plus, something def worth paying for, no dubious charges, bloatware, ads, trackers, etc, yet I must admit that the PS was somewhat convenient, but nothing otherworldly, nor something that you couldn’t get from somewhere else, easily and securely, everybody makes their apps readily available by some other channel precisely because things like that, same goes for the web browser, chromxz are overrated and dime a dozen, so what else can I say, there are things more important subjective-wise of course, like decent hardware to price ratio, nevertheless mine was a gift, so can’t really complain much about it, just learn to live with it…

  2. Avatar for Kārlis Ābols Kārlis Ābols says:

    It’s easy to use Google play apps on Huawei devices.
    Easily download “Gspace” on AppGallery. log in with your account and download everything you need.

  3. Avatar for Eijoe Eijoe says:

    Huawei is one of the best smartphones in the market but without google services is down for me because I’m using family link apps for my kids so I can monitor them and I can control them. when I bought my daughter a Huawei Matepad thought I can control their tab. so I’m very disappointed there are no alternative apps to control them when I’m away. so I decided not to buy any of the Huawei smartphones or tablets. except for their Laptops or Smartwatch.

  4. Avatar for Dave Dave says:

    I didnt buy a huawei because why buy and go thru the hassle of some things not working while easily other brands do. My friends hwauwei phone seems to be automatically filtering content related to the hk protests then so maybe there is some reason to the limitations

  5. Avatar for Laurence Isagan Laurence Isagan says:

    Yes, it discouraged me from buying succeeding flagship phones and swinging back to Samsung. Hopefully, that US ban will be lifted.

  6. Avatar for Kaloy Kaloy says:

    Hahaha. Paid article. Nobody wants Huawei! LOL!

    • Avatar for Abe Olandres Abe Olandres says:

      We were not paid to write this article. In fact, I moved away from a Hauwei phone (Mate 30 Pro) and switched to a Samsung phone last year because of the absence of GMS.

  7. Avatar for Den Den says:

    I got a Samsung over a Huawei just for convenience… but will still get a Huawei laptop, their specs are really unbeatable for the price. Killjoy lang talaga USA gov sa Google na yun

  8. Avatar for C C says:

    Huawei Phone specs are good, I have to admit that. But when I found out that some of the Apps that I use in Android/IOS were not available in Huawei Phones, I had no choice but to go back to Samsung out of convenience.

  9. Avatar for Legolas Legolas says:

    Maraming alternatives sa Google Drive, di mo ba alam yan??

  10. Avatar for mo mo says:

    honor was a sub-brand but now honor is a flagship phone.

  11. Avatar for mo mo says:

    honor was a sub-brand but now honor is a flagship phone.

  12. Avatar for Totoy Brown Totoy Brown says:

    sa China ata sobrang lakas pa din ng Huawei. ang pangit lang ng mga app sa kanila, puro ads. maski gallery may ads lol hassle din magpasa ng files online to Huawei users since wala silang Google Drive

  13. Avatar for wb wb says:

    Oh, yes. It’s the only reason why I’m not considering Huawei anymore. But before the Huawei was banned from GMS, it was my brand of choice. I had been a long time user of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 before I switched to a Huawei P10. I had been so satisfied with the P10 that I promised myself my next phone would be another Huawei. Until this thing with the US gov’t happened. Around mid last year, i accidentally dropped my P10 in the worst place where there always is water – in the toilet bowl. Of course this brought an end to my beloved P10. Now I’ve been surviving with an iPhone 7 and a first gen iPhone SE, phones my wife used to use. Battery sucks with these iPhones. I probably be going back to Samsung. My daughter’s Samsung A52s is a very good well rounded phone and costs about half as much as today’s flagships from top brands.

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