US trade ban will block Mate 30’s use of Google apps

Huawei’s new flagship smartphone will not be able to use Google apps and services because of a US trade ban.

Huawei is expected to launch its 5G-capable Mate 30 line of smartphones next month, the first major phone release by the company since US trade restrictions against it were instituted. The Chinese telecoms firm has previously used Google’s Android operating system in its smartphones.

Google said under the US restrictions on trade with Huawei, the new phone would not be able to host Google services including Maps, YouTube, Pay, Photos or the Play Store.

The Chinese firm was blacklisted by the US government in May over claims that it was a threat to US national security over its alleged ties to the Chinese government – something Huawei has denied.

The US government issued a temporary licence in the summer and renewed it again last week. That has allowed Huawei to maintain existing devices, but Google said the licence did not apply to new products such as the Mate 30.

US companies can apply for specific products to be exempted from the ban. Google has not said whether it applied for any such exemption.

“Huawei will continue to use the Android OS and ecosystem if the US government allows us to do so,” a Huawei spokesman said. “Otherwise, we will continue to develop our own operating system and ecosystem.”

Huawei has set up a website called Huawei Answers for customers concerned about the Google licensing issues.

In June, Huawei’s UK managing director, Anson Zhang, said “nothing has changed” for the company despite the ban, and it would continue to provide software and security updates for Android in the short and long term.

This month the company unveiled its own operating system, HarmonyOS, which it said it could use if it was no longer able to access Android, but it said its first choice was to continue using Google’s platform.