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Huawei may team up with India's Indus OS as a Play Store alternative

Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei P30 Pro (Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Huawei is looking to India's homegrown Indus OS as a way around the Google Mobile Services ban.
  • Indus OS' App Bazaar has over 400,000 apps in 12 Indian languages.
  • The partnership is kicking off in India, and it could extend to a global stage if things go well.

With Huawei being cut out of Google Mobile Services — prohibiting the Chinese manufacturer from offering Gmail, Play Store, Drive, and other Google services on its phones — the brand is looking at alternate options. The manufacturer is positioning its own AppGallery and Huawei Mobile Services as an alternative to the Play Store in European markets, and Huawei set up a global fund of $1 billion to court developers to build apps for its store.

It now looks like Huawei is taking a different approach in India. According to ET Telecom, the Chinese brand is said to be in talks with India's homegrown Indus OS as an alternative to Google's services in the country.

Indus OS' app store App Bazaar has over 400,000 apps in 12 local languages, and the fact that it has content in local languages makes it that much easier for Huawei to integrate it as an alternative to the Play Store:

The move is to address the Google app store challenge in India. The move will help Huawei to again revive sales of its devices both the brands (Huawei and Honor) in India.

According to ET Telecom, Huawei's partnership with Indus OS could extend to cover global markets, but for now the deal will focus on India:

The partnership is starting with India and would be taken to other countries. The current issue of Coronavirus has delayed global partnership related talks. Since the Indian team is based locally, it was easier to close the deal here.

Interestingly, Samsung is a stakeholder in OSLabs, the company behind Indus OS, with the South Korean manufacturer picking up a 20% stake by shelling out $5.75 million last year. What does Samsung get out of the investment, you ask? App Bazaar now powers the Galaxy Store in India, with Samsung leveraging Indus OS for its local language content.

It remains to be seen if Huawei will actually go through with the move, but the brand is set to unveil its 2020 portfolio shortly and it will need to address the lack of Google Mobile Services sooner rather than later.

Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro

Nearly a year after its launch, the P30 Pro continues to be one of the best phones in the market. You get a fantastic camera, great OLED screen, incredible battery life, and EMUI 10 based on Android 10. Oh, and you get the Play Store and all of Google's services.

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

1 Comment
  • Instead of trying to become a third company gathering personal data of users, huawei should adopt an open approach embracing open source and not spying on its users. We don't need another company spying on us beside Google and Apple. They could easily ditch GMS and switch to /e/ OS from e.foundation for example which doesn't collect any personal data and doesn't upload data from your Android to Google either.