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Huawei may be going ahead with its Mate 30 launch despite Google ban

By Koh Wanzi - on 29 Aug 2019, 11:29am

Huawei may be going ahead with its Mate 30 launch despite Google ban

Huawei may be going ahead with the launch of its Mate 30 smartphone, despite Google's ban and it possibly being unable to offer the Android operating system and apps like Google Maps. According to Reuters, Huawei will unveil its Mate 30 smartphones on 18 September in Munich, but it's not yet clear when the phones will actually go on sale. 

If this pans out, the Mate 30 will be Huawei's first major flagship smartphone launch since the Trump administration blacklisted the company in the middle of May, cutting it off from access to the technology and services provided by key US companies like Google. 

A Google spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that the Mate 30 cannot be sold with licensed Google apps and services. That said, US companies can apply for a license for specific products to be exempted from the ban, but Google did not say if it had done so.

The US Commerce Department has reportedly received over 130 applications for such exemptions, but none have been granted. 

Huawei would still be able to use an open-source version of Android, but the lack of Google apps and services amount to a huge handicap. 

Earlier this month, Huawei announced its own mobile operating system dubbed HarmonyOS, which the company is positioning as a backup for Android. However, it's difficult to imagine how HarmonyOS, in its present state at least, will be able to compete with Google's massive Android ecosystem, and many are sceptical that it can prove itself to be a viable alternative. 

Furthermore, it's not clear who will buy Huawei smartphones if they ship without Google apps and services. 

Despite all this, Huawei is forging ahead and continuing to put on a public face of confidence. As recently as last week, Vincent Pang, senior vice-president and board director at Huawei, told journalists that Huawei's new phones will still be based on Android. "We want to maintain one standard, one ecosystem, one technology," he said. 

Next week, the company will also unveil the Kirin 990 at IFA in Berlin, its new processor that will power the Mate 30 phones. The new chip is based on designs from British chip designer ARM, which severed ties with Huawei after the US ban because its work contains technology of US origin. However, the Kirin 990 is unaffected because it is based on the ARMv8 license, which Huawei has perpetual ownership of.

With that said, there's still a ton of confusion around what Huawei will eventually be allowed to do with the Mate 30 when it launches. It's impossible to say for sure what will happen at this point in time, and we'll probably just have to sit tight and wait for further clarification. 

Source: Reuters

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