After the US government placed a ban on certain Chinese companies working with local businesses, Huawei was forced to drop Google’s Android operating system from all its devices as the search giant was an American company.
Now, Google has applied for a license with the US government, asking permission to resume business with the Chinese company, only a few days after it warned Huawei device users not to sideload its apps for security reasons.
The vice president for Google Play and Android, Sameer Samat, revealed the news while speaking with German news outlet DPA (Deutsche Presse-Agentur), although he didn’t mention when a decision on the application would be made.
Towards the end of last year, Microsoft was granted a similar license in order to continue having its Windows operating systems ship with Huawei laptop products, such as the excellent MateBook 13, so there’s certainly precedence for Google’s application.
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Since having to abandon Google’s Android operating system, its Play Store app shopfront, and the Play Protect certification that comes with it, Huawei has had to develop its own alternative – the snappily-titled Huawei Mobile Services and its AppGallery.
It’s unclear just how significant the impact of the trade ban has been on Huawei’s business as only two devices (the Mate 30 phablet and Mate XS foldable) have launched without Android thus far, and while the former has just arrived in the UK, neither have made it to the US, Australia or other Western markets.
It seems likely that Huawei’s phone sales in the West would be helped by the ability to access the wide range of apps available on the Google Play Store, not to mention support for Google’s own apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Drive, and Google Maps.
While Huawei is attempting to rapidly expand the apps available on its own AppGallery, there are some notable absences among some of the more popular apps, including WhatsApp, Instagram, Netflix, Uber Eats, and Messenger.
Midway through 2018, Huawei overtook Apple to become the world’s second largest Smartphone manufacturer, second only to Samsung, so we’re hoping it can buddy back up with Google and continue developing competitive and powerful devices.