Huawei finalizing Google Services replacements, year-end launch in sight

Huawei and Google Play logos
Huawei and Google Play logos (Image credit: Nick Sutrich/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Huawei is building a Google Services replacement for its mobile phones with big monetary incentives for developers.
  • Official replacements for navigation, payments, gaming, and messages will debut by the end of December.
  • Huawei is building replacements for all Google Services, including popular platforms such as YouTube and Gmail.

Huawei is looking to toss off the shackles of a Google-run Android in 2020 in a big way by rolling out its own version of Google Mobile Services (GMS). This replacement set of services, appropriately entitled Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), is Huawei's way forward for guiding its ship full of customers to the apps and services that work best in the regions Huawei does most of its business. Speaking to ETTelecom, CEO of Huawei and Honor India, Charles Peng, said that Honor has been in talks with the developers of 150 top apps in India to ensure their availability on the company's own app store in the next year.

That's particularly important for countries with access to big social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which still don't feature apps native to the Huawei app store. Since Huawei does plenty of business in the West (outside of the United States, of course), it's important for its phones to have access to the popular features and services that you'll find on the Google Play Store.

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Huawei is looking to use HMS as a way to replace the popular default apps that Google ships Android with, such as YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, and Google Drive. Huawei is focusing on transparency and ease with this transition and hopes to offer users ways of migrating to alternative services without any real effort on their part. While it remains to be seen how well this can be pulled off, it's important that Huawei is working to ensure a quick and painless move in order to retain its position in the ultra-competitive smartphone market.

Right now, it's not clear what specifics Huawei is looking to use for replacements of Google favorites. While Google Drive and Maps have plenty of competition that is available worldwide, YouTube remains unmatched in its content availability with its closest rivals showing a significantly smaller user and content base. That's particularly interesting since we're supposed to start seeing official replacements in the next week or so and Huawei has confirmed only navigation, payments, gaming, and messages as debuting by the end of December. Despite massive setbacks in 2019, though, the company has remained on track and has sold more phones in 2019 than ever.

Huawei isn't resting on its laurels though, as the U.S. ban on Huawei products always seems to be up in the air, with the latest date being pushed back to February 2020. Huawei is offering incentives of up to $17,000 for developers that can quickly bring their apps over to Huawei Mobile Services, which should significantly help in the race to replace Google as soon as possible.

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Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu