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How is it like living without Google’s Play Store and relying solely on the Huawei app Gallery?

When the chief executive officer of Huawei, Richard Yu – one of the world’s most respected technology giant at the time, utilized the launch event of the Mate XS to invite more developers to its platform promising to offer just as good experience as the Google’s play store or Apple’s app store, we were thrilled to check out what was on their store and how was it like truly living without Google’s services on the android platform. Huawei has faced a myriad of problems emanating from the US president’s decision to blacklist the technology giant in provision of network equipment as well as effectively barring US companies from doing business with the tech firm.

Living without the Google’s Play store on an android phone is unimaginable at least to the average consumer. There are just a ton of popular apps the average consumer cannot sacrifice for the love of Huawei. This is a phenomenon of course the technology giant must have anticipated during their spat with the US president, but is it really that bad for tech-savvy consumers who can easily sideload these apps with a lot of ease from elsewhere? My answer is probably not!

With an estimate of over 400 million monthly potential users, the Huawei App Gallery is truly a mouthwatering opportunity to new potential revenue stream, but the efforts involved are curiously maybe not worth it. We are particularly stunned that after several months that Huawei has been locked out of Google services and its determination to continue selling devices, most popular developers aren’t yet budging.   

Huawei has some of the best android devices out there, stable hardware, commendable specs and the prices have recently plummeted owing to the lack of play store. Take a look at the Huawei Y7P recently unveiled in Kenya, the handset has what it takes to offer a solid performance. It’s one of those devices most technology pundits have gone out to describe as the “best smartphone you’re not buying”, or “the best illegal phone” and so forth. However, if you’ve got some skills to sideload applications, then this could be an excellent opportunity to get something out of the technology giant’s misfortunes.

It’s therefore not within our premise to rate the Huawei’s App Gallery as merely good or bad. From one point of view, it’s a functional way to download and manage your apps, which it does pretty well. The apps in on its platform appears to be well curated a little better than previously, but it’s still got a way to go with improving search and app discovery. Feature-wise, it’s not quite on par with Google’s store just yet. However, it certainly feels as usable as Samsung’s Galaxy Store, if not more so.

All said and done, the absence of commonly used apps is hard to ignore. In my case, work essentials like Slack and Zoom are notable absences. And Zoom has particularly skyrocketed in popularity during the stay at home period. Others include apps like Facebook, Netflix, and WhatsApp that aren’t available on the store either. In some cases, Huawei has linked apps that aren’t yet hosted on its store but are available in APK form from official sources. The App Gallery simply links out to official websites where you can grab and install the APK manually. These apps are usually presented with “Get” rather than “Install” button.

Below is a table of popular apps that are present and those missing on the app gallery;

Facebook – NoAsda – NoBBC News – No
Morrisons – NoTwitter – NoInstagram – No
Spotify – NoSnapchat – YesNetflix – No
BBC iPlayer – NoSky News – NoMicrosoft Outlook – No
Twitch – NoNHS – NoTesco Grocery – No
Deliveroo – YesPrime Video – NoUber Eats – No
Duolingo – NoDiscord  – NoAudible – No
eBay – NoJust Eat – YesUber – No
Amazon Shopping – YesHouseparty – NoZoom – No
Skype – YesDisney+  – NoTikTok – Yes
Messenger – NoMicrosoft Teams – NoWhatsApp – No
popular apps that are present and absent on Huawei App Gallery as of this post’s date

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