Blacklisted Huawei reveals 1st 5G phone without Google apps

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei on Thursday released its first 5G device — the Mate 30 — without Google-licensed apps, due to a U.S. blacklist.

Huawei CEO Richard Yu shows the new 5G-compatible Mate 30 smartphone on Thursday. Photo by Lukas Barth-Tuttas

The device was revealed in Germany and will use an open-source, but non-proprietary, version of Google’s Android operating system. The Trump administration has barred Huawei technologies in the United States and its armed forces due to national security concerns. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency related to the Chinese company in May.

The device, however, still functions like an Android-powered phone.

Huawei created its own interface, EMU110, this year and its own store with 45,000 apps. The company is also developing its own operating system, but it wasn’t yet ready for the Mate 30.

The company said the phone chip is the “most sophisticated” to date — but some experts expect Huawei will struggle with sales.

“I don’t see how many users would make so many compromises with such a phone,” Gartner Research Vice President Annette Zimmermann said. “It’s a lot of uncertainty.”

ByNicholas Sakelaris