It has been more than a year since Huawei landed on the US Commerce Department’s “entity list,” which prevents it from doing business with most US firms. That cut Huawei’s growing mobile business off from Google’s Android license, resulting in multiple smartphones that lack apps like Gmail, Maps, and Google Search. Huawei can’t release any new phones with Google certification, so it’s releasing the P30 Pro for the third time to continue providing Google apps. The P30 Pro “New Edition” isn’t very new, in spite of the name. But that’s also why it can have those apps.
Huawei found itself on the wrong side of the US government for a variety of reasons. President Trump has been quick to condemn Chinese companies, and US intelligence agencies have expressed concern about Huawei’s close ties with the Chinese government. This move also came as Huawei was making major inroads to supply partners around the world with 5G infrastructure, which the US opposes.
As long as Huawei is subject to US trade restrictions, it can’t get any new Android devices certified by Google. Without Google certification, it’s left with just the open-source parts of Android along with the custom apps developed for the Chinese market. Huawei has launched new flagship phones like the Mate 30 Pro without access to the Play Store, but it also used a loophole to re-release the P30 Pro last year with Google apps. That was after the initial launch in spring 2019 just before the trade ban. Now, it’s basically doing a second re-release with the “New Edition.”
The new P30 Pro has the same internal specifications including a Kirin 980 ARM chip and 8GB of RAM. Because it’s the same platform, Huawei can load the New Edition with all the Google services you’d expect on an Android phone. Newer phones like the 5G-enabled P40 Pro cannot run that software. Just like the 2019 P30 re-release, the only difference this time around is a new color option. You can get the P30 Pro New Edition in silver, a color that debuted on the P40.
Currently, the re-released P30 Pro is only available in Germany, but it will reportedly come to more countries soon. Re-releasing last year’s phone might be a good stopgap measure right now, but the P30 Pro isn’t going to remain competitive long enough to make this a long-term strategy. Huawei shipments have dropped about 35 percent outside China, wrecking the company’s plans to become the largest smartphone OEM. Unless something changes, its fortunes outside China are grim.
- US Government’s Huawei Ban Will Probably Go Into Effect Next Month
- Huawei Won’t Use Google Services Again Even if Trade Ban Is Lifted
- Google Applies for Government Exemption to Work With Huawei