At the moment, just as is the case with other device makers, Huawei devices (smartphones, tablets) usually arrive with some applications pre-installed right out of the box.
Such applications include those from Google, which Android device makers are mandated to bundle with their devices as part of Google’s licensing terms in order to access Play Services as well as apps from the device makers themselves. Huawei does this, Samsung does this, Xiaomi does this, every device maker who ships their devices with custom Android builds does this. It is their own little way of differentiating themselves from the competition and adding value to their users.
On top of their own apps and those from Google like Chrome, Maps, YouTube and the like, Android device makers like Huawei also pre-install application software from third parties. These could be solo developers they’ve entered into partnerships with or vendors or services companies like PayPal, Facebook, Microsoft etc. For instance, for a long time, Huawei used to preload Toodoist, a to-do list/task management app, on most of its devices, especially the high-end ones.
In the case of Huawei, this won’t be happening for any newer devices it releases in the future at least for Facebook-owned apps.
“Facebook Inc is no longer allowing pre-installation of its apps on Huawei phones,” Reuters reports.
This means that going forward, new Huawei smartphones won’t arrive with Facebook and WhatsApp pre-installed as they have been for a long time now, at least in Kenya.
Other popular Facebook-owned apps and services include Messenger and Instagram. In some markets, the latter is also pre-installed on Huawei smartphones.
This development is attributed to the ongoing trade war between the United States of America and China which has seen the Chinese device maker blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce and thereby limiting its ability to source for and procure supplies and technology from American based or affiliated companies. This resulted in Google, the custodian of the Android mobile operating system, withdrawing Huawei’s Android license in May.
A 90-day lifting of the Huawei blacklisting by the Department of Commerce has seen several US-based companies and industry associations, including Google, restore ties with the embattled Chinese company albeit temporarily.
With Huawei reportedly hard at work on its own Android replacement as part of contingency measures should the ban stay in place for a long time and it going as far as securing patents to a possible future name of its own mobile OS, it is not clear what will happen after the 90-day window elapses. Google is reportedly lobbying the US government for an exemption of the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones from the US ban.
This move by Facebook won’t have any effect on apps that are pre-installed on existing Huawei smartphones. They will still be updated and maintained like any other. Users of newer devices, any that are yet to leave the factory floor, will have to find and install apps like Facebook and WhatsApp from the Play Store. However, as things stand, Huawei devices released after the 90-day window (from late August) is over may not even have access to the Google Play Store.
Last year, Huawei opened up its own app store, AppGallery, to users outside China and it arrives pre-installed on most Huawei devices since then.
It is not clear at this time if other US-based firms that have their apps preloaded on Huawei smartphones, like Booking.com, will be following Facebook’s lead.