Has finally passed. Huawei today presented its Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro and literally commented that "they have been forced to use their own HMS (Huawei Mobile Services)", instead of using the GMS (Google Mobile Services) that include all Android phones.
This is a historical fact in the company and in the launch of a terminal to the market from a company of this caliber. Huawei Want to breastfeed with your own app store, as well as its own service framework, to function without the help of Google.
It is therefore appropriate to explain what we know so far of this alternative to Google services, comment on what we do not know yet and, above all, explain the main difference between this Huawei alternative to Google's Android regarding what we have already seen in the past.
Huawei without Google's Android, what happened?
The purpose of this article is not to explain the reasons why Huawei cannot market devices with Google services, as we have explained in detail above. However, it is necessary to understand what has happened. In a nutshell, due to a blockade imposed by the United States government, Huawei cannot sell devices with Google services, so they have advanced in trying to mature their own operating system, HarmonyOS.
This system is already working on devices, such as televisions, but is not yet ready to work on mobiles. What is the temporary solution then? Create a developer services framework alternative to Google, so that applications can work on Android without the Google services framework. Are you not clear about this issue of the service framework? We explain it to you right now.
What we know: this is Huawei HMS and its Android without Google
According to Huawei, more than 45,000 apps already integrate its service framework.
Android is an Open Source operating system, that is, open source, and on which anyone can make modifications. However, there is a "small paste". The Android application ecosystem has been created around the Google services framework and, without it, basic applications such as Gmail, WhatsApp, Maps, YouTube, or even apps like Uber or Glovo, ** don't work *.
For an application to work, it is not enough to install it in its native format (APK). If the operation of the app depends on a service framework, it is necessary that it be installed
Why is this happening? Because they base much of their operation on Google Play services. These services include applications, but also APIs. APIs are application programming interfaces, necessary for these apps to function properly. A map application needs location and map APIs, a payment system needs its own APIs, Gmail needs APIs to be able to synchronize with Google's servers, etc. Apart from APIs, authentication, synchronization, activity, services are included. Support for Android Auto, Widevine DRM, Play Protect, etc.
Since many applications don't work without this Google services ecosystem (GMS), Huawei has developed its own (HMS). And what is the Huawei application development kit made of? Of the following.
- Account Kit
- Map Kit
- Site Kit
- Drive kit
- Message Kit
- Game Service Kit
- Location Kit
- Scan kit
- Awareness Kit
- Push kit
- Analytics Kit
- In-app purchases
- Wallet Kit
In other words, Huawei has thought of everything developers may need to run their apps, and has provided a framework of services that they can use to develop their apps. If an app needs to use location, you can use the map kit, if you need to use virtual reality, Huawei's own ARkit. The main problem of this? That developers bother to adapt applications for a single brand, something of which we have no guarantee.
The Huawei ROM will be compatible with Google services, and identical at the EMUI interface level that we already know
As for the ROM that Mate 30 currently has (which will be different when it is presented), what we know is that It only has App Gallery as an app store, and that there is no trace of Google’s services. However, Huawei tells us that Your ROM is compatible with Google services, and that any user can install them. Interface level it's EMUI pure and hard, unchanged, since everything is still based on AOSP (Android Open Source) under the customization of Huawei.
What we do not know (and what raises doubts): how Huawei will guide the user when installing apps
At the time the Mate 30 goes on the market, App Gallery may not contain Google applications.
We have had the opportunity to talk to Huawei, and the only thing it has told us is that "users can access the online world to acquire the apps they want." As we advance, App Gallery will be the Huawei store, but it has only 11,000 applications, pecata minuta if we take into account the almost three million apps that are on Android, according to Appbrain. Without going any further, for now, WhatsApp is not in App Gallery.
The main question is what happens to those applications that are outside the App Gallery. Does the user have to search for them on their own? Will Huawei guide the user to external repositories?
The point here is that, those apps that are not in App Gallery should download from third party websites or repositories, something that the average user is not accustomed to and that, for obvious reasons, is more insecure. Therefore, it should be thought that Huawei will look for the most optimal way for the user to switch between app repositories in a secure way although, for now, this is an unknown.
In the same way, we don't know what will happen at the update level, and here we have to talk about something so that it doesn't escape us. With each version of Android come new APIs and services that, in a "normal" Android mobile, are updated with that version.
In the scenario of having a Huawei with Google services installed by us, we must manually update these services after installing the new ROM, since Huawei cannot include them in the OTA. In short, a somewhat chaotic situation for which we hope to have prompt responses.
Why is this project different?
Despite the uncertainties that arise, what Huawei has presented is something big, a lot. In the past we had seen the marketing of Android products without Google services, such as Fire tablets from Amazon, or ROM proposals that dispensed with these services and did not provide an alternative to them, simply ignored them.
All this showed that it is technically possible to live with an Android without Google, as we could try a while ago. However, in this scenario we would have to talk more about "survival" than about "experience", since dispensing with Google is dispensing with basic applications.
Huawei has been the first brand to present an alternative to Google's Android within Android itself. An own services framework, so that apps do not depend directly on Google
The goal of Huawei is that, through its own service framework, developers can create applications that do not depend on Google’s service framework. Practice will tell us that some applications will adapt to both frames, that others will not, and that only some Huawei-owned applications could only work with the Huawei framework, but the point here is the possibility, to propose a real alternative to Google's Android.