Ever since the United States government announced that it was placing Chinese tech giant Huawei on a blacklist that prohibits it from sourcing technology from US and US-based companies and a subsequent revocation of its Android certification by Google, there has been doubt over the company’s continued ability to continue delivering the same experience to the hundreds of millions of users of its devices.
What will happen to future Huawei smartphones if they don’t ship with Google’s Android (including the popular Google apps like Chrome, Maps, YouTube and others that are usually pre-installed on certified devices) as we know it?
Will Huawei still maintain the competitive edge that it has had in recent years that has seen it rise from obscurity to being the second-biggest smartphone maker in the world?
We still don’t have definitive answers to all those questions.
This is because Huawei has soldiered on using the current provisions that allow it to continue with its relationship with Google to provide regular software updates to users of its devices thanks to the temporary licenses granted to its US partners.
At the same time, the company has gone ahead and unveiled its own operating system. While Huawei acknowledges that HarmonyOS is not yet ready for smartphone prime time, it is widely seen as its strong backup plan should its Android future not be guaranteed.
Much as that is the case, an outlook that many have ignored in the ongoing conversation over the future of Huawei and its relationship with Google and Android is the power of the company’s pull thanks to the strong numbers it currently commands.
While US entities that hold the keys to platforms like the Play Store (Google) and others may be held back by local regulations, developers looking to reach as many users as possible may not be as legally bound. Thus, they are likely to embrace anyone who helps them achieve their aims of reaching more users and hopefully making more money or whatever targets it is that they have.
Looked at that way, it is not hard to make the case that Huawei may just be able to survive any attempts to alienate it by locking it out of Google apps certification which effectively means lack of access to services like the Play Store and Google Play Services.
Huawei already has its own app store which it has been quietly propping for over a year, AppGallery.
While ProtonMail, a secure email service that opened to the general public back in 2016, is not on the same level as Gmail, it is worth noting that its makers’ decision to avail it on Huawei’s app store goes a long way in entrenching the kind of bullish self-belief the company badly needs right now.
Joining ProtonMail, the most popular of the applications developed by Proton Technologies, is ProtonVPN. The company says that in the future, other Proton apps, ProtonDrive and ProtonCalendar, would also join the duo on alternative app stores.
Citing the need to reach as many users as possible regardless of where they are, Proton Technologies recently announced that it would be availing its apps to app stores run by Samsung, Amazon and Huawei. In addition to the trio, Proton also announced that ProtonMail is already available on open source Android app repository F-droid.
“Samsung and Huawei are, respectively, the largest and second-largest smartphone manufacturers in the world,” the company posted on its blog.