Huawei has the same app issue that ruins Windows Phone

Huawei is now the world’s largest smartphone maker in terms of shipments, according to Canalys data, which suggests that the Chinese tech giant surpassed rival Samsung in Q2 Samsung, though most of its sales were due to domestic sales in China . This is the first time in nine years that a company other than Samsung or Apple has led the market.

Huawei received a flurry of news, especially given the turbulent 14 months since the US refused to release it to stop using Google’s Android flavor in its new handset. But despite Huawei’s euphoria overtaking Samsung, its future in the global smartphone arena looks bleak, thanks in large part to the app restrictions enforced by the US embargo. The crux of Huawei’s problem, as most people know by now, is that buyers of its new phones cannot use many big-name apps without hoops from the JioPhone. In many ways, Huawei’s forecast is similar to that of Windows Phone a decade ago.

Like windows phone

Above: Windows Phone 8 Launch (2012)

Image Credit: Sean Ludwig / Venturebeat

At the time of its launch, Microsoft’s mobile operating system was often packed with some of the best hardware offered on the market, and in particular Nokia’s devices in great cameras. But Windows Phone just can’t lose the “lack of apps” tag around its neck, although Microsoft spent a lot of resources letting developers build Windows Phone, even holding developer competitions. In the end, Microsoft managed to persuade some companies to build for their platform, but apps were often not fully featured as their iOS and Android counterparts, and a good portion of them rarely updated. had gone.

Similarly, Huawei’s devices are widely appreciated for features such as AI-infused chips and quality cameras. And the company is trying to encourage developers to join its platform, which recently launched a $ 1 million contest that builds on its $ 1 billion Shining Star developer program.

In the year since the US Embassy came into effect, Huawei launched its own version of the Google Mobile Service (GMS), designed to transform Google’s ecosystem and provide developers with the tools to build the device. Has doubled down on the development of Mobile Services (HMS). Apps for the Huawei platform. In a press talk earlier this week, Jaime Gonzalo, VP of Mobile Services Europe for Huawei’s consumer business group, shows the progress the company has made in the last year shows that there are now 1.6 million developers on board, 76% The year has increased. -On-year, and over 80,000 apps that now use elements of HMS.

But such growth metrics don’t really matter to most people. They all care about whether they can easily get access to all the tools and services that some want Huawei has tried to address.

“Actually, there are 3 million apps, so this [81,000 apps] Gonzalo said that less is more. “[But] The thing is, it is not about the volume of apps, it is about Pertense and the services it provides. So we evaluated our users, how many apps they use on their phones, and we found that any country, the average number of apps is about 80 … if many of them are clones of one, 3 million What’s the point in offering the app another bloatware? “

Although, Huawei’s case for quality over quantity is legitimate, the real problem is that a vast portion of the world’s most popular apps are not available only through its Appleory App Store.

Delayed problem

In the immediate aftermath of the US embassy, ​​most Huawei phone users did not see any difference in their app selection, as the ban only affects new Huawei and Honor-branded handsets. During the recently launched products, Huawei has made several changes.

Without access to Google Play services, anyone buying a new Huawei or Honor device today has access to WhatsApp, Instagram, Uber, Uber Eats, AirBnB, Facebook, Google Maps, YouTube, Netflix, Twitter, Tinder, Dropbox, Slack, Amazon Prime Can not reach easily. Spotify, eBay, Strava, or many others.

In some cases, it is possible to access some of the above services via a browser, although often with less functionality. Huawei recently launched a new service called Petal Search, which enables users to search .APK files of Android apps either through companies themselves (eg Facebook to download their Android app directly from their website Provides for) or third party .APK library

But this solution is meaningless and is deviating from people’s expectations. Furthermore, it is not easy to provide timely, automated updates to core functions by Google and Huawei’s related mobile services when companies refresh their apps.

Above: Huawei’s Petal links to popular apps’ .APK files

There are no barriers to stopping companies – in the US or otherwise – from adding their app to Huawei’s AppGallery. Amazon, Microsoft and Snap have already embraced AppGallery, pointing to the major differences between the face of Huawei today and the one Microsoft faces with Windows Phone. Huawei devices are still based on Android, which makes it very easy for developers to bring their apps into their ecosystem.

But Huawei is now racing against the clock. Most of its devices are currently in the hands of millions of people globally who can still use Google’s Android. Now the company is trying to get their home before those consumers upgrade to new devices. When people transition from the old Huawei or Honor handset to a fresh crop of devices, many will not realize that they are buying in a completely different version of Android and will be left disappointed.

A decade ago, many low-tech-savvy consumers were similarly affected when they bought new Windows Phone for cameras, only to find that they couldn’t access most apps on their friends’ Android or iOS Were.

Online retailers are currently taking note. Some are posting major warnings ahead of new Huawei devices, removing a backlash from confused consumers who can’t figure out what to install on WhatsApp, Instagram, or Uber.

Above: Huawei smartphones for sale on the UK website

Such websites also provide detailed guides for customers, explaining the various processes they can go through to bridge at least part of this Google size difference. But people don’t like the workaround and they don’t like friction, which stands to benefit Huawei’s rivals.

Indeed, Huawei may overtake Samsung as the top dog in global smartphone shipments, but Samsung could be the big winner when Huawei’s customers seek out brands unaffected by app restrictions. Huawei could possibly have some success in markets that rely less on apps and services from Google and other US companies, such as Russia, but the company’s chances of remaining a global powerhouse are slim if it allows its users to easily access the main app Can not provide.

Certainly, some users will always be willing to try out options for market leading apps, but not on any meaningful scale. In the end, it doesn’t matter how good your on-device AI is, or how amazing your camera is. That painful lesson Microsoft and Nokia have learned with Windows Phone all those years.

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