The departure of the Google Play Store on Huawei devices started when the U.S. imposed a trade ban on the Chinese OEM. This means that Huawei may run the Android software, but the Google Media Suite is not allowed.
Gmail, YouTube, Google Photos, and many more native Google apps are banned from being installed on any new Huawei devices. Huawei answered the ban with its own app store called the Huawei AppGallery.
Huawei improved its App Gallery drastically since the trade ban was implemented. In less than a year, it has gained more developers to fill the store with essential applications.
It is not as thorough as Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. But the potential to expand is present.
With more devices from Huawei coming soon, here are some impressions of the Huawei AppGallery and how it compares to the Google Play Store.
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The Huawei AppGallery has limited app choices as expected. Despite Huawei dedicating US$3 Billion for software development, the current number of apps available cannot compete with the number of apps in the Google Play Store.
For example, Opera is one of the popular browsers available today on desktop and on mobile. However, it is not even the first choice on the AppGallery even with the absence of Google Chrome.
There is a workaround for apps like Google Maps and Google Drive. These Google apps can be accessed by searching on the Huawei AppGallery and it redirects to the webpage format of the app. Once open, a shortcut icon may be created and placed on the home screen for easy access.
The Huawei AppGallery looks a lot better now compared to its previous phase. The company fixed the user experience by creating an app that is easier to navigate.
It is also riddled with questionable apps back then. Huawei decided to clean up the AppGallery and got rid of these spam apps and placed trusted apps on the welcome screen. Telegram, TikTok, Deezer, and Snapchat are easily accessible as its most popular apps.
There are still some apps that are doubtful and might contain invasive codes. But, it is a lot better today compared to when the AppGallery first came out.
One very noticeable problem is that searching for an app gives questionable results. Some trusted worthy apps need further scrolling just to be accessed.
If there is one thing that Huawei got right, then it is the sorting of applications.
The App categories on the Huawei AppGallery is now similar to the Google Play Store, which provides a better experience. There are separate categories for games, business, cars, finance, food, and many more.
Once inside an app page, the AppGallery is clear with the app rating easily seen. The app description is also noticeable. The developers are also mentioned so it is easier to check whether it is from a reputable creator or not.
One downside is due to the limited number of users, the app ratings are very scarce. Opera, for example, only has around 1000 downloads and there are a limited number of reviews.
Judging the Huawei AppGallery today is a premature decision. The app itself is raw and it has a long way to go before it can compete with Google’s offering.
The app needs a lot of work to do such as a proper rating system, and a better sorting mechanic. Searching for an app needs to be streamlined too.
Plus, an incentive system to developers for them to migrate into the Huawei ecosystem might be another option.
The Huawei AppGallery has the essentials for day to day usage. But, for someone who is invested in the Google Media Suite, Huawei devices are not the best option for now.
Unless sideloading apps are fine.
As of the moment, if the camera is the top priority and sporting the Huawei AppGallery does is not a bother, then the Huawei P40, P40 Pro, and other upcoming Huawei devices are still a great choice. If a balanced experience is what people are aiming for, then a different Android device with the Google Play Store is a no brainer.
Images used courtesy of Huawei
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