By now you should be quite familiar with Huawei’s recent issues, with trade restrictions imposed by the United States forcing American companies to stop selling products and services to the Chinese firm.
In light on a series of impending device announcements, as well as new uncertainty surrounding the status of the forthcoming Mate 30 series, Gartner research VP Annette Zimmermann has weighed in on the situation.
“Some of the key consequences impact Huawei’s current as well as its future business,” the VP explained.
“It (Huawei) will be unable to install Google Play Service on future smartphones. It will not be able to apply or receive Android certification under the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS), which any OEM must pass to allow Google branded apps to be installed,” Zimmermann lists as a potential consequence.
“For existing devices Huawei confirmed that users will be able to update apps via the Google Play Store. However, the uncertainty that this event created around Huawei’s devices has impacted consumer sentiment in EMEA during 2Q19. This is evidently reflected in Gartner’s 2Q19 device market share publication,” she adds.
It should be noted though that Huawei was able to bounce back quite effectively following the initial suspension of Android services to devices in May, with the firm retaining its number two spot among vendors globally.
That said, it cannot be overstated that continued uncertainty will have a far more negative effect on the company’s ability to sell phones.
Huawei’s business outlook
Zimmermann believes the repercussions of this executive order can have detrimental effects Huawei’s businesses on a global scale.
“Huawei has been the rising star in the smartphone market, growing at a fast rate despite a slowing smartphone market. The vendor took the #2 spot in the overall phone market in 1Q19 according to Gartner numbers (13.6% share),” says the research VP.
Its ability to match or indeed surpass those numbers become severely hampered without access to Android and Google services, which is said to be the case for the Mate 30 series.
“In the current situation, users will not have access to Google-branded apps with this upcoming device, even though the device will likely run a version of Android. Tech-savvy users may find other ways to download apps. However, without access to some of the most popular apps like Youtube and Google Maps is a difficult sale for a smartphone vendor outside China,” stresses Zimmermann.
The global impact
Should Huawei’s influence in the mobile market begin to wane as a result of this uncertainty and inability to have Android on its future devices, it opens up the opportunity for other smaller vendors to take some of its market share, as well as larger firms to establish dominance, the VP notes.
“In Western Europe we are starting to see the growing presence of other Chinese brands such as Oppo and Xiaomi. Huawei’s biggest Android-competitor – Samsung – may also benefit from Huawei’s troubles. Alternatively, some users may also look to the Apple ecosystem in this situation,” says Zimmermann.
“It remains to be seen if a last-minute deal could be established between Google and Huawei to allow the latter to bring its future devices to market with Google-branded apps,” she continues.
Zimmermann also points out how significant Android is to the operations of a smartphone maker.
“The issue highlights how dependent smartphone vendors are on Google. At the same time this is not a favorable situation for Google either having a fall-out with one of its largest hardware partners,” she concludes.
Having spoken to Huawei Mobile South Africa recently about its new HarmonyOS, the firm may have to turn to this operating system as a safety measure should no resolution be made. Whether that will actually do the trick though, is equally difficult to determine, especially as the app and developer ecosystem for HarmonyOS is not fully fleshed out.
Either it will prove an interesting few months for Huawei, with the firm having to temper its expectations following a sharp rise in the past two years.