Despite the assurance from Android that Google Services will still work on the existing Huawei phones in the market, consumers are still fearful to put Huawei phone into their shopping cart. Bloomberg has reported that Huawei is preparing for a drop in international smartphone shipments of 40 million to 60 million during this trade war.
Thing isn’t pretty in Singapore. Mobile phone shops are lowering the price to attract more sales. In the secondary market, it is not hard to find Huawei smartphones selling at huge discount on the Popular consumer-to-consumer marketplace Carousell. A quick check – it is not hard to find Huawei P30 Pro selling at about SGD 600 (approx. USD 440).
Sound like a good time to snap the good deal if you are considering buying a new phone huh. Is it? Weeks ago, I gave my opinion during a Chinese TV interview about US boycott on Huawei. Although there are new developments since then, I believe whatever I have said still hold till now. I understand that some of my international readers may not understand so I am providing a translated transcript here. I have also embedded the video below.
Q1. Google is not going to support Android update for Huawei phones. To a Huawei phone owner, does that mean the phone is not longer “usable”?
My answer: Android is an open system i.e. to say, it is available to all phone manufacturers including Huawei. The situation arises when Google is not providing any technical supports to Huawei for the future Android updates of its phones. Huawei will have to provide the updates by its own but that does not mean the phone becomes “un-usable”. Current Huawei phone owners could still use their phones without the latest Android version.
Q2. What will happen to Google Services Application without those updates?
My answer: Google has been clear that future Huawei phones will not come with Google Services including YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail and etc. However, Android has commented that this will not affect the current Huawei phone models in the market. In other words, current Huawei owners could still enjoy their YouTube video even though the YouTube app is not running the latest version.
Q3. Will the security be compromised for Huawei phone owners?
My answer: Indeed, it is a risk for the Huawei users. Huawei is offering another solution – to release its own proprietary operating system. However, it is still too early to tell.
Q4. What’s the challenge that Huawei faces in developing their new OS?
My answer: Developing its own OS makes strategic senses. However, to build an entirely new ecosystem that could be as good as Android’s, I believe it is going to take a couple of years.
Back to the discussion, should you still buy a Huawei phone? Huawei has been very clear in their positioning – camera. Indeed, the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro have received very good critique (for the camera). If you are a camera-person, I believe you should take the advantage to buy the Huawei P30 or Mate 20 at a discount (Just make sure the one you bought from the e-commerce sites is 100% original and comes with local warranty).
A few days ago, Huawei Singapore has also rolled up EMUI 9.1 update for its Mate, P and NOVA series. I believe that gives more assurance to the current Huawei phone owners. Local electronic giant retailer Challenger has also shown their support to Huawei by giving 100% money-back warranty if you buy Huawei’s devices from Challenger from now till 31st August 2019. The warranty which is not given by Huawei Singapore guarantee Huawei users of 2 year protection of Google Apps.
To end off, I just want to tell current Huawei phone owners that they need not have to worry that much. To potential Huawei consumers out there, you might have been over-reacting. A good smartphone should be able to last you for the next 2 years. By the time is up, you probably would want to get a new one. Personally, I am still using an old Xiaomi phone (as a spare phone in the office) that goes without updates for the last 2 years! By the way, it is still functioning!
The future of Huawei phones that come after the P30 series is very unpredictable. However, the ones you see in the market now should be still “use-able” in the next 1 ½ year.