Building a replacement to Google Mobile Services (GMS) is a gargantuan task, but Huawei is doing a rather good job.
US sanctions, as they stand, means that Huawei will no longer have access to American hardware and software going forward.
The hardware side presents challenges, but Huawei already makes important components like chipsets in-house (and they’re impressive, too.)
Losing access to Google’s services and having to build an ecosystem which competes with the Play Store and App Store – that, however, poses a huge challenge. Just ask Microsoft with its doomed Windows Phone efforts.
Many experts have been quick to call the sanctions the end of Huawei’s smartphone business in Western markets. As impressive as devices like the P40 are, they’re not very appetising to consumers if they can’t access the same apps as those running iOS or Android devices with Google’s services.
Huawei has been working hard on attracting developers to support its Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) alternative to Google.
In an update, Huawei says 1.6 million global developers are now supporting its efforts as of H1 2020. That number is up 76 percent over the 910,000 figure that Huawei touted last year.
The developer support has led to 81,000 apps specifically aimed at Western audiences using HMS APIs, as of July. That figure has increased 26,000 since February.
It shows impressive traction from Huawei’s developer community – but, the question is, how is it translating into actual users?
Huawei claims it has over 700 million HMS and AppGallery users. As you’d expect, most are based in China. Just 73 million are in Europe, but that does represent an increase of 62 percent year-on-year.
While many were quick to call the sanctions the end of Huawei’s smartphone business outside its home market, the company isn’t throwing in the towel just yet. Most people only regularly access a select number of apps on their devices anyway, so – as long as they’re available – losing access to GMS may not be such a big deal if HMS keeps up its current momentum onboarding developers.