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HUAWEI Mate 30 series tipped for delay in West due to U.S. trade ban

The HUAWEI Mate 30 series launch could be delayed in the West, as the phones apparently lack access to Google services.

Published onAugust 29, 2019

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Update, August 29, 2019 (7:28AM ET): It seems like the HUAWEI Mate 30 series launch might be delayed in the West due to the lack of access to Google services.

The South China Morning Post reports that overseas sales of the Mate 30 series might be delayed due to the U.S. trade ban, citing people familiar with the plans.

The outlet’s sources say the phones will continue to run Android, but that they won’t offer the likes of the Play Store and Google Maps. SCMP‘s sources caution that the plan isn’t final and that further U.S. government action might affect the move.

Read: Best 2018 flagship phones that are still worth buying today

If HUAWEI does indeed choose to delay the Mate 30 series’ Western release, that means the company will need to push hard in its home market to soften the blow, the sources explain. Google services aren’t preinstalled on smartphones sold in China.

A possible delay also comes a few weeks after HUAWEI revealed its HarmonyOS platform. The new platform is meant to be a flexible, lightweight operating system for a variety of devices, but it’s also being positioned as a plan B if its access to Android is affected. Could HUAWEI use this platform for the Mate 30?

“The open Android operating system and the ecosystem around it are still our first choice,” the company told the outlet. “Please stay tuned for our new products.”

Original article, August 28, 2019 (7:08AM ET): As far as we know, Huawei is going to launch the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro and vanilla Mate 30 at some point this year (rumors suggest they’ll land on September 18). This would be the first major flagship smartphone launch from the company since it was placed on the United States government’s Entity List.

However, according to a Google spokesperson speaking with Reuters, HUAWEI would be in violation of the ban on U.S. firms working with the company if the Mate 30 devices come with the officially licensed version of Android that includes the Google Play Store and other Google-branded apps.

In order for HUAWEI to release the Mate 30 series with a fully licensed version of Android, Google would need to apply for a license from the U.S. government since the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro would be classified as a new device and not one that existed when the trade ban went into effect.

The Google spokesperson declined to confirm or deny whether Google applied for such a license. However, Google has said previously that it wants to continue working with HUAWEI.

HUAWEI is in a tough spot here, but it likely will not release the Mate 30 with a licensed version of Android if that violates the ban.

If true, this would throw a significant wrench into the launch of the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro. It’s possible HUAWEI could release the Mate 30 series globally without the Play Store or it’s possible it could launch the device only in its native China where consumers are used to Android devices without Google services. It is unlikely HUAWEI would push out the Mate 30 devices in such a way as to violate the U.S. trade ban.

Huawei’s so-called “Plan B” operating system — known as HarmonyOS — could, theoretically, replace Android on the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro. However, HUAWEI has said numerous times that it doesn’t want to release a smartphone with HarmonyOS and that it certainly has no plans to do so this year.