Huawei reportedly in talks with Aptoide for a Google Play Store alternative
Huawei is reportedly in talks with Aptoide to provide users with an alternative to the Google Play Store according to a report by Portuguese news outlet Dinheiro Vivo. This development comes on the heels of Google revoking Huawei's status as a licensing partner for the commercial version of Android following an executive order from the Trump administration that banned US firms from conducting any business engagements with the Chinese smartphone and networking major.
Aptoide is one of the largest third-party Android marketplaces with over 900,000 apps and 200 million users. CEO Paulo Trezentos told Dinheiro Vivo,
We see this news as an interesting market opportunity to create a partnership with Huawei and solve this problem that has arisen for them. The contacts were alive, we exchanged emails, we had meetings and they have shown interest, so we revive this contact." [sic as per Google Translate]
It is not clear at this moment as to how exactly Aptoide's marketplace would be integrated with upcoming Huawei devices. Right now, it is being speculated that Aptoide's app store could either be offered as a dedicated app or Huawei could tap into an API to offer Aptoide's collection via its own front-end. Either way, it remains to be seen how well Huawei curates the Aptoide store as users are likely to bump into 'dodgy' apps here and there.
It may be recalled that Huawei already offers its own App Gallery store for users in China where Google Play services are unavailable. Bloomberg reports that Huawei's App Gallery had already catered to about 50 million users at the end of 2018 and the company is trying to court app developers to directly publish to the App Gallery to circumvent US restrictions. Huawei is reportedly proposing to offer a "very significant" revenue share to European wireless partners while also offering marketing support and "China app store exposure" to developers who hop on board. However, Google apps would still remain inaccessible.
Amidst the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, the world number 2 smartphone maker has found itself in a quagmire after having been accused by US authorities of violating trade sanctions and performing espionage for the Chinese Government. Following the executive order, US tech giants such as Google, Intel, Microsoft, ARM, Broadcom, and Qualcomm have severed all commercial arrangements with Huawei. This means no supply of networking hardware from Broadcom or Qualcomm, no Android licensing from Google, no Windows licensing from Microsoft, no ARM licensing for developing HiSilicon Kirin CPUs, and no x86_64 CPU supply from Intel or AMD for MateBooks and other computers.
There is still a 90-day reprieve on some export restrictions that Google can use to provide security updates for existing Huawei smartphone customers. Huawei, in the meanwhile, is said be to haven been preparing for the worst since long and the company's Android alternative, HongMeng OS, is already under trial in China and could very well be the OS of choice in the upcoming Mate 30 smartphone.
Trezentos confirmed that there are no plans for a merger with Huawei as of now. He said,
It is not part of our horizon in the short term, because as this opportunity arose, new opportunities are always emerging in this area and we feel that this growth we have been doing has not stopped. We still have many challenges to address before eventually thinking about a merger or acquisition." [sic as per Google Translate]
With pressure mounting by the day, Huawei's aim to become the world leader in smartphones by 2020 seems to have taken a severe hit. We are not sure whether the Trump administration would eventually offer some scope for rescinding the ban as it did to ZTE back in the day.
What do you make of the current developments and future prospects for Huawei? Let us know in the comments below.