back to article Huawei's P40 and P40 Pro handsets will not ship with Google Mobile Services, Richard Yu confirms

In another body blow for Huawei's global smartphone ambitions, the Chinese telco yesterday confirmed its upcoming P40 and P40 Pro handsets will ship without Google Mobile Services. French tech publication Frandroid quotes Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer Business Group, as saying the device will use Android 10 with the …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    Maybe not such a bad thing

    "confirmed its upcoming P40 and P40 Pro handsets will ship without Google Mobile Services"

    Is this not enough to get developers developing without the need to incorporate Google's Monopoly ?

    I imagine that any increase in alternatives to Google as being a good thing ( Ok , an example where the Chinese govt might a stronghold might not the best first choice) but it could be the beginning of better things for all.

    I really don't see why we have no European Alternative to Google, it's not as though we don't have the necessary grey cells... OK MS bought out Nokia, but what about Siemens, ST Micro, Thales etc ( Can't think of any British companies still viable)..

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Maybe not such a bad thing

      They publish their apps on Google Play, and the Apple app store. For the most part, they don't publish anywhere else.

      1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change Bronze badge

        Re: Maybe not such a bad thing

        The positive scenario here is that that changes, and a third major platform emerges.

        If Huawei is custodian and is successful, that puts it on a par with google and apple. Though I suspect they'd have an uphill struggle to get there.

        Perhaps a really positive scenario would be for Huawei to sponsor an alternative, but to stand back from governance and make it a community effort. Perhaps also based in a jurisdiction less problematic than China or the US.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Maybe not such a bad thing

          Switzerland?

          I'm surprised it isn't on the US's axis of terror list already.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Maybe not such a bad thing

          "Perhaps a really positive scenario would be for Huawei to sponsor an alternative,"

          F-Droid?

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Maybe not such a bad thing

            I am very happy with FDroid. However, first, Huawei doesn't need to assist it; they're already doing fine and, second, it wouldn't help with the app problem. The general user wants a relatively small set of apps, including their banking and shopping apps, apps from companies they use frequently, and maybe some games. None of those companies are at all interested in making their apps open source. FDroid is great primarily because it requires all the apps on it to be open source and to submit to analyses of potentially unwanted functionality that get listed right there in the results list. That's why I always try to find an app there before anywhere else, and why nearly every popular corporate app won't dream of listing itself there.

            1. jmecher

              Re: Maybe not such a bad thing

              FDroid-the-client and FDroid-the-repository are two separate things; of course they work together to produce what is commonly referred to simply as FDroid, however one can pick and choose.

              The repository accepts only open source apps, so it doesn't have a wide appeal, however the client is designed such that it can easily use additional repos; someone willing (or as in Huawei's case - being forced to) can piggy back on the client instead of creating their own from scratch. Pooling resources together instead of reinventing the wheel, etc.

              I have the impression that Huawei doesn't "get" open source, though. They're big so they can certainly throw resources at the problem, will it be enough? Or, possibly, they want to make it on their own, which would be a silly mistake of course, but given that decisions are at least influenced by political cadres, it's possible.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: don't see why we have no European Alternative to Google

      One possible reason is that, to put that in place, you'd have to match Google's investment in data centers to a certain extent, and that means billions of euros that need to spent without any immediate return.

      A second possible reason is that Google already has its fingers in 99% of all web sites, what with its implication in JavaScript and frameworks and all the genuinely useful APIs and function libraries that Google offers up for the price of your soul free. You'd not only have to replicate all that from scratch, but you'd also have to persuade all those web sites to switch to your code. Herculean doesn't begin to describe that problem.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: don't see why we have no European Alternative to Google

        "One possible reason is that, to put that in place, you'd have to match Google's investment in data centers to a certain extent, and that means billions of euros that need to spent without any immediate return."

        Huwaei has the money, so that's not a problem.. and the Chinese usually have a lot of patience, so the immediate returns might not worry them too much....

        They have undoubtedly already invested millions into manufacturing their current and future SmartPhones and I imagine that they don't want to lose their investment. So, I can imagine that a new Huawei store might actually come around or alternatively whatever they call their personal OS might actually come to light far sooner than expected.

      2. overunder Silver badge

        Re: don't see why we have no European Alternative to Google

        "you'd also have to persuade all those web sites to switch to your code. Herculean doesn't begin to describe that problem."

        No, you wouldn't because you'd already have it.

        Google is banking on "developers" that still believe in part that computers are magical and anything other than Go or Js is "low level" (many refer to JS routines as low level!!). Also, laziness.

        Google isn't winning because they're trying hard for thier dependency, they're winning because nobody seems to try at all to be independent.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe not such a bad thing

      > I really don't see why we have no European Alternative to Google

      Because we were colonised, physically (Germany, "Eastern" Europe) and economically (Marshal plan) after the war. Fair enough, you could say we shouldn't have started not one but two wars or scattered our resources (and morals) trying to do the colonial shit, I am not blaming anyone else here.

      There is that and there is the mindless petty nationalisms that, while fine from a cultural point of view if you want to be proud of whichever country has issued your last passport, really shouldn't get in the way of neither social nor economic development. But national governments play for their national audiences and the EU is where they dump all the has-beens and all the never-wills.

      And because European "start-ups" (mind the quotes) are all trying to copy Silly Valley, blissfully unaware that we're not Silly Valley, instead of trying to build better and truly innovative things in a better and truly innovative way.

      But apart from that, no reason.

    4. .stu

      Re: Maybe not such a bad thing

      Amstrad?

    5. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Maybe not such a bad thing

      Because if you attempt to compete they'll either buy you out (no one is gonna reject several million to not have to worry about work again) or bury you in patient lawsuits. Shouldn't stop people trying though.

    6. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Maybe not such a bad thing

      Amazon has been shipping Android devices without any Google services for years as their Fire tablets. I got one of these recently because I needed a cheap tablet, figuring that I could add them using one of a couple of well known methods. As it turned out you don't even need to add Google services and their play store to load key applications such as Google Maps and even Facebook/WhatsApp. The thing works fine for me (although I'll eventually have to get around to side loading the specific application that I want to use on it).

      So I expect that if I bought a P40 then I'd maybe be inconvenienced but it wouldn't be anything like the End Of The World scenarios that are implied by this article. In fact, I suspect that Google needs Huawei a whole lot more than Huawei needs Google.

  2. Graham 32

    Dreaded hole-punch

    "Both phones are rumoured to use hole-punch displays, rather than the dreaded notch"

    Hole-punch cameras are dreaded too. They're both pretty much the same, it's just the hole-punch has a tiny sliver of screen round the other side of the camera that is completely unusable.

  3. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Maybe worth considering

    Not having googie spyware installed by default would be a big plus for me. And I suspect many other people.

    The biggest potential problem is, of course, application availability. But if H can sort this then I think they could be on to a winner.

    Disclaimer: I use an iPhone just to avoid googlies. Yea - ok, you can downvote me for that

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Maybe worth considering

      Yea - ok, you can downvote me for that

      Done

      1. Rich 2 Silver badge

        Re: Maybe worth considering

        Ahhh shucks :-)

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Maybe worth considering

      I use Android, but the first thing I do with any new phone is de-Google it as much as possible.

      A phone with no Google to start with is good news.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe worth considering

        Same here.

        On the other hand, there are a number of independent open-platform phone manufacturers. I don't think the quality of any of the offerings is that great though.

        So far with my two post-Nokkia mobile phones I rooted them and then spent one and a half days pouring through the firmware with a fine comb. Apart from all the google bullshit, it's incredible all the nastiness that already comes pre-installed from China. Following that, the next step is to run a firewall on the phone (having made reasonably sure that there is no non-AOSP code running as root, which could simply modify the iptables rules), and of course no sensitive data on the phone. All applications come from the reassuringly militant F-Droid.

        I find all the tinkering interesting, but it would be nice if consumers at large could benefit from some real choice concerning privacy.

    3. southen bastard

      Re: Maybe worth considering

      "confirmed its upcoming P40 and P40 Pro handsets will ship without Google Mobile Services"

      this is a goodthing "no"?

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Ben XO

    Downward spiral

    Presumably at this rate we’ll have a huawei P45 in shocking pink with no apps and limited prospects before the year is out

    1. ForthIsNotDead

      Re: Downward spiral

      I see what you did there! Have an upvote!

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Downward spiral

      Or maybe even in light blue?

      https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/511182/P45_Laser-Sheet__12_15.pdf

  5. big_D Silver badge

    Huawei?

    In another body blow for Huawei's global smartphone ambitions

    Isn't it a blow to Google's global smartphone ambitions? Given that the first thing I do on my Android phones is disable or uninstall all Google tools, with the exception of the Play Store, this is actually interesting to me.

    If they provide a good alternative to the Play Store, I'd be more than happy. The Gallery is a little bereft of content at the moment.

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: if they provide a good alternative to the Play Store

      They don't. You can try to install Google Mobile Services which lets you install the Play Store, but it's at your own risk, as no one knows where this version of GMS comes from.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: if they provide a good alternative to the Play Store

        >You can try to install Google Mobile Services which lets you install the Play Store, but it's at your own risk, as no one knows where this version of GMS comes from.

        Given the success at rooting devices, expect if the Huawei handsets are any good, for these relatively minor problems to be resolved into some simple Q&As to identify the correct GMS apk that needs to be sideloaded (ie. enter your Huawei phone's model number).

        The real question is whether Google will take any action to prevent GMS and Play Store running on huawei phones, if anything they might actually (unofficially) contribute to such forums or even provide official GMS downloads...

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: if they provide a good alternative to the Play Store

          I fully expect those resources in a matter of weeks after the phones are launched. Sadly, I also expect that there will be identically worded posts with APKs with malware included*. This is a perfect opportunity for criminals, and I think they'll be taking it.

          *Or, depending on your view of Google Play Services, additional malware included.

    2. Avatar of They
      FAIL

      Re: Huawei?

      I always thought this would hurt the US in the long run doing this. It will prompt an alternative to Google all the more for the Chinese to be able to not rely on the US. Instead of natural market forces they have a blonde idiot and a stick pushing them to do it.

      And now a billion spent getting development and an (in house?) team creating alternates to Googls apps.

    3. jmecher

      Re: Huawei?

      >If they provide a good alternative to the Play Store, I'd be more than happy.

      A few months back while I was looking for a new phone and doing the research, Huawei was not on the short-list. Reason: they're not unlock friendly, and no Lineage (or at least AOSP) support.

      You'd have thought the embargo would have made them more flexible on this front; it would have been an no-cost way for them to score points with the rest of the world in addition to making easier for people to get their google dope if they're so inclined.

      Google are jealously guarding their wares for business reasons, but Huawei seem to be equally control-freak for no obvious reason.

  6. Barry Rueger

    Excellent!

    Huawei phones are very, very nice, and a lack of Google crap will just make them excellenter!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a Global Market

    7.5 billion potential customers minus 3.5 million potential customers is still a huge market.

    That is plenty of sugar for Huawei to turn Trumps lemon into lemonaid.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: It's a Global Market

      Sure, but I don't know what your 3.5 million refers to. If you're talking about the population of the U.S., that's 330 million, and they can still buy Huawei equipment if they want to; it's businesses who can't. The number of people who use Google Play is quite a bit larger, but the number of people who want to use it is unknown. Even if they were limited to just the Chinese market, it's already a really big market. I think they'll be fine.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's a Global Market

        @doublelayer

        "...that's 330 million..."

        Thanks for the correction.

        "...they can still buy Huawei equipment if they want to..."

        The FCC can revoke the telcos license to operate Huawei equipment, which would make it illegal for them to activate Huawei phones on their network.

        Of course that would cause a lot of people to complain when their Huawei phones quit working and then the Prez will call them ugly names for complaining.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: It's a Global Market

          Theoretically, that could be possible. But that's not currently the law; it is still legal to sell Huawei equipment and to operate that equipment that is currently possessed. The only thing that's currently illegal is for businesses to sell or buy from Huawei. For the FCC to mandate that carriers disable access to Huawei devices would take either a new law or the FCC going far outside their typical permit, as they are usually allowed to forbid equipment only if that equipment is allowing violations of radio frequency regulations, which these devices aren't. While the FCC has proven itself willing to do stupid things, this would be another step forward and it would instantaneously be challenged in court. I expect that, when the U.S.-China trade war eventually winds down, Huawei will be taken off the list and will once again be able to buy software and sell hardware in America. They might still not be able to sell parts of a communications system to U.S. carriers, but they'll be able to license Google services and sell phones to consumers.

  8. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    Huawei wi ye foul spies!

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Facepalm

      That's no way to talk about the land of the fee.

  9. JohnFen Silver badge

    Body blow?

    I understand why the article said this is a "body blow", but to me, it's a desirable feature.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "but sadly will lack access to Google's ecosystem of mobile apps."

    Sadly??

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. Richard Lloyd

    I wonder how long...

    ...it'll take for someone to sideload Google Play Services/Play Store/Google Apps onto these P40 phones? I bet Huawei won't make it too difficult :-)

    Unless Huawei can provide good alternatives to all the major Google Play store apps or easily allow Google Play stuff onto the phone, I can see them losing customers. Yes, for the audience here on El Reg, a Google-less Android phone might seem attractive (I'd suggest LineageOS in that case, provided your bootloader can be unlocked), but for the average Joe Bloggs out there, I suspect they'd have second thoughts about it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's face it

    The phones will no doubt have a longer run-time between charges, probably run faster, be less intrusive and hopefully won't sell your data or contact list to their business partners for spam purposes

    A winner all round, me thinks!

  15. Jim-234

    No google services - Possibly the best selling point

    I would think with a bit of marketing work, they could advertise the stuffing out of them being better because they Don't have the google services as part of it and convince people to do a bunch of grey market importing of them.

    Especially if they decided to leave the bootloader unlocked.

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