Huawei launched a new 5G-compatible smartphone lineup in Munich, Germany on Thursday without Google apps or access to its services as the Chiese tech giant contends with a US trade blacklist barring it from purchasing American-made technology.

Why it matters: Experts believe that a lack of Google apps and services will slash the appeal of the Mate 30 series in the western markets such as Europe, Huawei’s biggest overseas smartphone market.

  • The company said it has no timetable for the availability of the new flagship series in Europe.
  • The company will start taking pre-orders for the devices in China next week and they will be available in Southeast Asia sometime next month.

Details: The Mate 30 series will operate on an open-source version of Google’s Android operating system, but they won’t come with popular Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube, or the Google Play Store.

  • Huawei will offer its own Android skin called EMUI10 on the new devices.
  • The phones will ship with a Play Store alternative called the AppGallery, which the company confirmed on Thursday will allow downloads of more than 45,000 apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
  • The new devices use Huawei’s Kirin 990 processor, the company’s first smartphone chipset to include a built-in 5G modem.
  • The lineup includes the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro, both of which are available in 4G and 5G models.
  • The two devices will start at EUR 799 (around $883.2) and EUR 1,099 (around $1,214.9), respectively.

Context: Huawei is the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor following South Korea’s Samsung and the biggest smartphone seller in China.

  • The lack of Google apps will have little effect on sales in the Chinese market because most of Google’s services are blocked in the country.
  • Huawei smartphone sales in Europe tumbled 16% year on year in the second quarter.
  • NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile carrier, said this week it would not offer phones from Huawei for its 5G network, based on concerns about restricted access to Google services, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
  • Google has cut Huawei off from future updates and services for the Android operating system after the US put Huawei on a trade blacklist in May.
  • Smartphone makers need to purchase a license from Google to pre-install popular Google apps and services.
  • Google said last month that it could not sell the license to Huawei because a temporary reprieve from the US government does not apply to new products such as the Mate 30.

Wei Sheng is a Beijing-based reporter covering hardware, smartphone, and telecommunications, along with regulations and policies related to the China tech scene. Before joining TechNode, he wrote about... More by Wei Sheng

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