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Should You Still Buy A Huawei Phone in 2020?



Don’t buy Huawei/Honor smartphones in 2020
Image by THAM YUAN YUAN from Pixabay

Since the U. S. Commerce Department added Huawei to their entity list last year, the Google services support in their devices has been a big question mark for many people. Huawei is going to launch their flagship P40 Series in India without Google Mobile Services(GMS), and Honor recently released the Honor 9X Pro without GMS. Should you still buy a Huawei phone if it lacks Google Mobile Services?

Before getting into the details, Let me briefly outline what we will explore in this article.

  • Various Solutions Provided by Huawei
    a. AppGallery
    b. Phone Clone
    c. More Apps
    d. Petal Search App
    e. Huawei replacement to Google Apps
  • Third-Party Solutions
  • The User Experience
  • Verdict

After being placed on the Entity List, Huawei is prohibited from doing business with American companies. Google is one of them. Google releases the Android Operating System and certifies handsets to use GMS (Google Mobile Services). Android is an open-source product, so that Huawei can use Android without any problem in their newer devices. But they couldn’t get Google Mobile Services (GMS) certified. So instead, they have to use their own Huawei mobile services (HMS). GMS is not only used by Google’s core applications, Instead, many third-party applications are built to take advantage of it. For example, The map you see in the Uber app is not made by Uber, Rather they integrate Google Maps into their platform.

According to Counterpoint Research, despite the ban, Huawei still managed to rank number one in sales volume in April of 2020, with a market share of 19 percent. It beat out South Korea’s giant, which came out with a 17 percent share. So it is quite significant for Huawei to address this situation properly. They have a few solutions to suggest.

1. AppGallery

Should You Still Buy A Huawei Phone in 2020?
Screenshot Credit: Mrwhosetheboss

AppGallery is the Huawei alternative of Google play store. As China banned Google services a long way back, all the Chinese companies relied on their app store in their home market. So the AppGallery isn’t a new thing, but it has been more concentrated on the Chinese market. Now with the ban, Huawei needs to make it more global and starts to promote it in all their launch events and developer conferences to attract more developers. And now it has a lot of apps and more apps are coming to it. They also give an option to add apps in to wish lists which are not available in the AppGallery, so they can invite developers to add such apps into AppGallery

Huawei AppGallery wishlist feature
Screenshot Credit: Mrwhosetheboss

But, what is the point of having a lot of apps instead of not having applications which we use? Most of the applications which we use daily are from U. S companies. They could never bring such apps into the AppGallery anyway.

Huawei AppGallery still misses out on many non- US-based applications due to the need for GMS to work properly. they need to contact their developers and ask them to use HMS instead of GMS for Huawei devices to bring these applications into the AppGallery.

they are very much aware of these, and they’re trying different methods to bring such apps into the Huawei app gallery. To use US-based applications they are giving some services to help us.

2. Phone Clone

Phone Clone is an app which helps us to transform applications from our old phone to a new phone. Can it be a solution to the above problem?. It never intended to. It can be useful to install applications which are not available in the App gallery and do not need GMS to work.

Huawei Phone Clone
Screenshot Credit: Mrwhosetheboss

So how would anyone use Apps which are US origin or need GMS to work? The solution from Huawei is called More Apps

3.More Apps

Should You Still Buy A Huawei Phone in 2020?
Screenshot Credit: Mrwhosetheboss

More Apps is a pre-built application that comes with new Huawei devices which list all the apps which we have questions about. It shows the way to use such applications either by giving a direct link to install from APKPure or by installing Web Apps( adding the website to the home screen by using “add to home screen” option in web browsers, and it will look like a normal application, but we browse through the web)

4. Petal Search – formerly known as Huawei search

Petal Search is a new application from Huawei. As of now, only pushed to the newer P40 series with EMUI update. This app searches through various third-party online app stores like APKPure, Aptoide, Apk Monk and others to install an app and it also supports checking for updates for the apps installed on our device. This update also features some other new features including their new voice assistant Celia. For more detail about the Petal Search application and features on this new update checkout this Xda page.

5. Huawei Replacements for Google Apps

Here I am going to list some of the mainly used Google apps and their counterparts from Huawei.

  • Gmail-Huawei Mail(we can use Gmail service in Huawei mail)
  • Google Drive(free 15 GB storage) vs Huawei Cloud(Free 50 Gb storage)
  • Google Chrome vs Huawei Browser
  • Google assistant+Google Play Newsstand vs Celia(Huawei assistant)
  • Google Classroom- Huawei Welink
  • Google play books vs Huawei Readers
  • Google Calendar – Huawei calendar
  • Youtube music vs Huawei music
  • Play Movies vs Huawei video
  • Youtube vs Huawei Video(web version of YouTube)

But I don’t think these apps can replace Google apps, not because they are not good, people are usually resistant to change from the ecosystem which they already are in.

Third Party Solutions.

To install new applications we have to use third-party app stores like APKPure, Aptoide, Apk Monk, ApkMirror, etc. Some of them have their application. If we download Apk from the web, we have to manually install each app. Even with their application, we have to go through security checks for each app and the experience will be similar to installing an Apk manually. But in the play store, everything will happen in the background.

Since people have been importing phones from China from a long time back, there is always a way to install Google services (GMS) to these Chinese phones irrespective of the brand. But according to my research, none of such methods will not work now on a new Huawei/Honor device

But a new working method (unofficial) of installing Google services into Huawei/Honor phones was discovered from March 2020. You have to install an app called “Chat Partner App” which is about 147 MB to download. For the procedure and more details check out the following page from Gsmarena. Here’s an easy method to install the Google Play Store on your Huawei phone

The User Experience

So we have been discussing the way to install various applications which we use on a daily purpose. but we haven’t discussed the user experience of these apps in a new Huawei/Honor Phone. For that, I will take you through some examples

  • AppGallery and those third-party app stores come with ads in their UI, so the user experience will not be good as to play store
  • The search algorithm in Huawei AppGallery is very bad, if we search for an app it will probably list after 4 to 5 apps which have no similarity in the “name” with the app we search. All these apps are usually quick (the apps which can be used without installing). For example, if we search for Swiggy it will list at the 5 th position. If we search for Hotstar it will list at the 7 th position.
  • The following apps present in AppGallery are not from their original developer; instead, they are the modified web apps from third-party app developers (Flipkart, Zee5, Hotstar, Ola, SonyLiv, Swiggy, etc). And most importantly you have to re-login in every 4-6 days again(Web Apps) and it will not be fast and smooth as the original one
  • We couldn’t stream DRM content in any of the streaming applications due to DRM licensing error. In the prime video, the quality is limited to SD. In SonyLiv and Zee5 you couldn’t stream premium content. In Hotstar you can stream free and VIP content, but you couldn’t stream premium contents. Netflix will sometimes work but most times it will refuse to work
  • Even Uber is not going to work anyway. So you are limited to Ola Cabs if you decide to call a cab.
  • You couldn’t install Google Play Games anyway. So you couldn’t log in games with it. But most of the games give another login option like Facebook. But still, it will not be so convenient.
  • You will not get proper Android Updates and security patch updates
  • You couldn’t install the YouTube creator studio in any way- so if you are a creator you have to deal with it.
  • You couldn’t install Google Maps in any way, but recently HERE WeGo is live in AppGallery. So it will not be a big issue.

Before going to verdict, I have to point out some of the great things Huawei is up to now.

Huawei is building a new ecosystem like Apple.they are building their operating system called Harmony OS along with their own SoC and other hardware and software. To know more about their master plan checkout Arun Maini recent video.


More than any of us, Huawei/Honor is trying as hard as possible to minimize the effect of this on their newer devices. However, as of now, there aren’t any solutions that are as effective or convincing as using Google’s ecosystem. It takes so much effort to make simple things work on their newer devices. Considering most people out there are basic users, we cannot recommend their devices at this time.

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Source: Mrwhosetheboss | Gizmoddict

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