And so the Mate 40 finally has it started. With U.S. restrictions on the chipsets required to power Huawei devices and with Google still missing, China’s leading smartphone maker has released another standout device due to factors outside of its Control lie outside of China will stall. And while the US blacklist is the real existential problem, it’s once again the loss of Google that steals the headlines.
In addition to the Mate 40, Huawei also announced the expanded “Petal Search”, which is part of a new family of apps to which the long-awaited company also belongs Google Maps replacement. This is a formidable blow to Google’s search dominance on Huawei devices – at least on devices sold outside of China. Given the dominance of Google in web search, it is not surprising that Huawei – driven by the loss of Google – is taking action. With hundreds of millions in its ecosystem, this is a compelling opportunity.
That said, it brings with it a fundamental problem for Huawei: trustworthy content. While no one expects streets to shift or disappear, when it comes to news and events, history and general web searches, it’s a different matter.
Huawei’s first petal search was designed to find apps that couldn’t load onto new phones due to US restrictions – Google’s apps, but also other US staples, including social media and entertainment. But now everything has changed. Petal Search has developed into an independent search engine, similar to “Huawei Search” Tested on the road in March but was never fully released.
This latest update has a whole host of ramifications: a threat to Google’s core business model as an established smartphone maker goes its own way, a threat to US dominance in mobile internet standards and staples for the same reason, but also a serious question about a Chinese company that offers a search engine in the west. This is more similar to the problem highlighted by TikTok’s delivery of content to western users.
This year, China has increased its influence on its domestic search engines, which obviously prevents Western equivalents from operating in the country at all. When I was reporting on Huawei Search, an insider assured me that there would be no censorship problems with search results outside of China. But then TikTok says the same thing, and yet the question has always haunted the platform.
More critical for Huawei, however, is that the equation has changed significantly since the introduction of an internal search engine was announced back in March. At the time, this was part of an alternative ecosystem to Google that included email and maps. But now, with US pressure on the sale of chipsets, Huawei is moving from a phone maker to a provider of software ecosystems. Under this model, the search engine and other apps would be made available to a number of other OEMs – provided they can secure them and not just for their own use.
According to GSMArena“The Petal Search app now works as a general search engine and provides news, images and videos as well as results for regular queries. You can also use it for shopping and booking flights, just like you can on Google or Bing. In our tests, search results were provided by Microsoft Bing, although other reports claim regions such as Spain and Turkey have independent indexing direct from Huawei. “
And so, towards the end of 2020, Huawei launched another exciting smartphone and even more software in its ecosystem. The supply of chipsets is exhausted and there is no answer to closing a gap by 2021 that could become visible Smartphone sales are falling from an expected 180 to 200 million units to just 50 million.
Even if it rises to the challenge – and the company describes its upcoming “battle” against Android as a must-win battle for survival – the reality is that sales outside of China will be limited until Google can be restored . Huawei’s growing ecosystem won’t dissuade millions of European customers from the apps and full-fledged Android experience they expect from their devices.
In that regard, the other news this week is about the latest reported solution to restore Google Mobile Services on unapproved Huawei phones. According to XDA developer“Googlefier” is a new way to use LZPlay GMS recovery software that was released in the last year before the retirement. “You can then install the Google Play Store and other Google apps on your device and then sign in to your Google account.”
This week, Huawei posted a 9.9% increase in revenue for the first three quarters of the year, up from around 24% growth in the same period last year. The company says this “basically lives up to expectations”. Given the combined challenges of the blacklist and coronavirus, Huawei will “do its best to find solutions, survive and move forward, and meet its obligations to customers and suppliers”.
Recent reports that Huawei may sell its Honor-branded smartphones show just how drastic Huawei’s strategy could be to escape the stranglehold of the US blacklist. There are two ways to view these potential messages. First, that it could be a test bed for Huawei splitting into smaller, less threatening pieces to appease Washington. Or, secondly, and more radically, Huawei can sell its smartphone brands and then try to integrate those brands (which will then have access to the required chipsets) into the company’s HarmonyOS open source alternative to Android.
It’s hard to overstate how critical the next few months will be for Huawei. An exhausting stash of chipsets coupled with re-minted licenses for chipmakers to restore their shipments, HarmonyOS ‘continued advancement towards the introduction of a smartphone, and whether or not the open source version will attract larger buyers, the Continuous expansion of the HMS app ecosystem Other countries are choosing alternatives to Huawei for the 5G networks. And of course the trifles of a US election and all the possible implications for the tone of the current course of action.
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