In this article, I highlight reasons why you may or may not want to buy a Huawei smartphone in 2020. Huawei makes incredible looking flagship phones.
Huawei flagships have consistently dominated the smart-phone photography game for the last two to three years in fact, the P40 Pro is currently at the top of DXO Marks smart-phone photography ratings table. Huawei also owns the Honor sub brand which also makes really good looking and great performing phones for cheaper. So it’s safe to say, Huawei has defined itself as one of the best phone brand in the world. But due to the recent trade wars between the United States and China, Huawei was added to the United States entity list, which basically means that Huawei can no longer do business with or use US owned companies services and this includes Google play services. So essentially you can no longer use Google based services like G-mail or YouTube on your Huawei smart-phone. But that’s not entirely true. Let me explain.
Web Apps vs Side-loaded Google Apps?
While you can’t use the Google offered apps like G-mail and YouTube on your Huawei phone, you can basically still use these services over the web. And with the advent of web-apps, you can now basically save a web-page or web-app as an app on your phone and these websites basically act like a native app. Some of these websites are so well developed that they act exactly like the native app while some aren’t very nice to use.
While this method works and is a quick work around if you own a Huawei phone, it however isn’t a very enjoyable experience. So I guess the next question to ask is ”can you side load apps to Huawei phones and have them work?”. Well yes you can, but any app that runs on Google’s services will not work on Huawei Phones.
To salvage the situation, Huawei has developed its own app store called app gallery and has also developed something called Huawei Mobile Services or HMS. Which is an alternative to Googles Play services. So the challenge here becomes how does Huawei get the big app owners like Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Netflix to get their apps on the Huawei App Gallery? And are these companies willing to dedicate resources to building versions of their apps for Huawei? The bone of contention here is scale. Does Huawei have the numbers to motivate these companies and app developers in general to build versions of their apps for Huawei.
As much as Huawei is the second largest smart-phone distributor in the world, a huge percentage of their customers, people who buy and use their phones reside in China.
According to counterpointresearch.com in Q4 2019 and Q1 2020, 60% of Huawei’s global smart-phone shipments went to China. That’s a whopping 41% of China’s smart-phone market. This just shows that post the trade ban by the united States, the OEM has concentrated its efforts in it’s home market, which fortunately for Huawei, that decision helped it grow 12% YoY in that region.
So this leaves us with 40% of Huawei global smart-phone shipments to the rest of the world. But what does this percentile come to in actual numbers and this is what the software companies and app developers look at. Because at the end of the day they have to make money.
Well I checked those numbers and here’s what it is.
According to statista.com, Huawei’s global shipment for 2019 was 240.6 million smart-phone units. 60% of this supposedly went to China. That comes to 144.3 million phones leaving the rest of the world with 96.2 million smart-phone units. Just to be a bit conservative, if we say 60% of this number actually use these western apps, Facebook, Netflix, twitter that comes to about 57.7million people.
So is this number compelling enough for any developer to consider building a version of their app for Huawei? Well, I think if you had an opportunity to sell a product to 57 million people you would definitely take the chance. But I’m not in the heads of these companies and I can’t claim to know what metrics they look at. But there’s a pretty good chance that Huawei could get these companies and developers on board their platform.
Conclusion – Should you buy a Huawei phone?
So the question remains, should you buy a Huawei phone. Well if you can live with all I’ve mentioned and you really don’t care about Google services, then by all means go ahead. Huawei has got a reputation for having some of the best built devices with incredible camera performance and manageable price points. And there’s nothing that says the trade ban wont be lifted and Huawei taken off the US entity list.
This is however a big maybe. If you need to feel safe, you may want to consider another brand, if not, ride on.
I hope you enjoyed this article and I hope it was enlightening. If you have any question or would like to discuss further, feel free to leave me a message in the comment section. You can also follow me on social media to continue the discussions.