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First Huawei Smartphone to Replace Google Mobile Services Hits Europe Next Week

By Ding Yi / Feb 19, 2020 01:28 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Huawei will launch its Honor V30 handset, the first smartphone preinstalled with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), in the European market next week as the company seeks to combat U.S. restrictions on doing business with American suppliers, the Beijing News reported Monday.

The embattled Chinese tech giant has lost access to Google Mobile Services (GMS) since it was placed on the so-called U.S. Entity List in May. The move means Huawei cannot run Google apps and services on its smartphones. Huawei has also been blocked from receiving updates to the licensed version of Google’s Android operating system that powers many of its devices.

Concerns over the U.S. trade blacklisting has forced Huawei to develop HMS, which it expects to grow into a mobile ecosystem that can match GMS. To achieve that goal, the Shenzhen-based company is dipping into a billion-dollar incentive fund to encourage global developers to integrate their apps into HMS. The company is also working with domestic peers to build an alternative to Google’s Play Store.

According to the Beijing News, the V30 smartphone is also the first Honor mobile phone that is compatible with 5G networks. Huawei will hold a launch event for the V30 smartphone in Europe despite the fact the Mobile World Congress (MWC) was called off as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the report added.

Whether a Huawei smartphone without GMS can gain popularity in Europe remains to be seen. The region is one of Huawei’s most important overseas markets. According to a report by research firm Canalys, Huawei ranked second in smartphone shipments in Europe in the third quarter of 2019 with a market share of 22.2%, behind Samsung which controlled 35.7% of the European market during the period.

Reuters reported last week that Turkish telecoms firm Turkcel had reached an agreement with Huawei to use the HMS services, becoming the first company outside of China to use the system. The Turkish company also said that it plans to sell 1 million HMS-enabled Huawei smartphones between April and the end of 2021.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese Phone-Makers to Team Up for Google Play Store Alternative: Report


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