Huawei in talks to replace Gmail for the Mate 30 series and beyond

Huawei in talks to replace Gmail for the Mate 30 series and beyond
According to comments that someone inside Google passed along to Reuters late last month, it appears that Huawei will not be able to license the Google Play services version of Android for its upcoming Mate 30 line. This means that it will have to turn to another operating system, and while it did introduce its HarmonyOS in August, the company says that it will not use it on high-end phones. Possible options here include an open-source version of Android, similar to the "forked" version used by Amazon for its Fire tablets. The company could turn to another seasoned operating system such as Sailfish. However, reports earlier this summer noted that the operating system's security features are five years behind the Google Play services version of Android. Sailfish derives from the gesture-based MeeGo OS that was used on the Nokia N9 back in 2011.

The U.S. ban against Huawei also means that the Mate 30 series will not be able to use Google's core Android apps including Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, the Play Store and more. One possible replacement for Gmail is ProtonMail. According to ProtonMail's blog post (via Bloomberg), Huawei is in talks with ProtonMail to include the encrypted email service on future versions of its phones. The email application could come pre-installed or offered inside Huawei's AppGallery app storefront. The talks were confirmed by Andy Yen, ProtonMail’s chief executive officer. Yen, however, did not say whether the company has decided to allow Huawei to use the app. Since ProtonMail is incorporated in Switzerland (historically neutral), it is not banned from being a Huawei supplier.

ProtonMail is looking for new distribution points


ProtonMail is currently offered to iOS and Android users, and a version is available on the internet for desktop and PCs. It features end-to-end encryption which means that the company cannot read posts you've sent or have received. And the company's website also promotes the physical safety of its infrastructure by noting that it "resides in Europe's most secure datacenter, underneath 1000 meters of solid rock."
 

In its blog post, ProtonMail says that Google doesn't respect users' privacy and a free app like Gmail makes the company plenty of money by selling user data to advertisers. In addition, the blog calls both the Play Store and the Apple App Store examples of a distribution monopoly. So while it needs to have a listing in both stores to reach the most Android and iOS users, ProtonMail is looking at alternatives for distribution of its email application including the Samsung Galaxy Store, the Amazon App store, and the Huawei AppGallery.


ProtonMail currently has 17 million users globally and while the company's CEO says that he would welcome the opportunity to broaden the app's audience, he adds a warning. "We need to weigh this against some of the other risks of doing business, especially in China, because you never really know who you’re working for." Which ironically is the reason why ProtonMail is getting this opportunity in the first place.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Charles Shum, without the Google Play services version of Android on its phones, Huawei could see handset sales outside of China cut in half over the next 12 months.

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12 Comments

2. OneLove123

Posts: 1195; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Just got myself a new proton email.lol

4. meanestgenius

Posts: 22290; Member since: May 28, 2014

I applaud Huawei not resting on their laurels and pursuing all avenues to having suitable replacements for Google apps and services.

5. BobbyDigital

Posts: 2125; Member since: May 29, 2014

Huawei can also turn to Aptoide for its Android apps. There really are ways around this nonsensical ban.

7. Gadgetex

Posts: 199; Member since: Nov 10, 2013

Hopefully there is a way around this

13. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

Aptoide is a malware advertising clusterf*ck. APKPure or APK Mirror would be a better alternative.

19. CristianGMoraru

Posts: 10; Member since: Apr 27, 2019

i just love people that call Huawei a copycat company, having the same design doesn't mean its copied as long as its f**king better than what garbage others provide. Gonna be completely honest now, i've been using Samsung most of my life but in 11 days i'll be pre-ordering the Mate 30 PRO. :)

21. Mobilephile

Posts: 168; Member since: Nov 25, 2012

May be a difficult long road to wide adoption but Huawei should continue working on improving Harmony OS, that's how Android started. It's never too late to begin the journey.

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