Two months after its global launch, Huawei has finally announced the Mate 30 Pro for Australia.
But this isn’t like any other ‘launch’ we have ever witnessed before.
Only a handful customers will get the device and they have to register their interest first. This includes 200 words on their favourite Huawei feature, favourite memory with a Huawei device and what excites them most about the Mate 30.
All for a phone that won’t include any Google apps of services.
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After everything that has happened in the wake of Trump’s trade ban, we have felt bad for Huawei. They have been put in a terrible spot with Western markets that is going to significantly hurt their ability to sell devices.
But it has gone further than that in recent months. Nobody has been able to really ascertain what has being going on with the likes of the Mate 30 and Huawei’s foldable Mate X device.
The company’s refusal to answer questions about the launch of the Mate 30 in the lead up to today, as well as the lack of commentary and transparency regarding what features it will have has gotten tiresome.
This has continued with this oddball launch. It completely ignores the elephant in the room despite repeated requests from media regarding the appearance of Google services and American-owned apps on the device.
It seems irresponsible to not be up front with consumers who may not realise that these apps could be missing. It’s possible that some people may think that the Mate 30 releasing means that everything will be fine and usable.
The entire debacle has left a trail of questions, some of which we still can’t answer despite the phone being announced today.
What we do know is that the Mate 30 is launching in Australian with EMUI10, which is based on the open-source version of Android. You’re quite likely to be able to access American-owned platforms that have a website as well as an app – such as Facebook and Twitter. You may even be able to side load some of the apps, but we don’t know for sure and Huawei hasn’t gotten back to us on this.
What you won’t have access to is Google apps and services or the Play Store. That means no Chrome, Gmail, Maps or Drive – just to name a few.
And it’s for this reason that we didn’t expect as big a launch as we have seen in recent years.
What we did expect was fewer devices and a smaller retailer – which has come to fruition with the Mate 30 only set to appear in Huawei Authorised Experience Stores, Mobileciti and select HappyTel stores. No telcos will be stocking it at this stage.
What has been surprising is the weird expressions of interest caveat attached to the ‘launch’. The only way you can buy a Mate 30 in Australia is by completing a survey on the Huawei Promotions website and “lucky winners” will be chosen. No, they don’t win a device. They are simply one of the chosen 200 who will be able to buy one from November 21.
The form also asks for quite a bit of information – such as what was described above, as well as your current phone, address and phone number.
If you look closely enough at the last item on that list, Huawei finally mentions Google and asks potential customers to acknowledge that the device won’t have it.
“I understand this product uses Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) instead of Google Mobile Services (GMS). That Google’s apps are not pre-installed, as well as other applications listed.”
This is the only mention of Google, and it’s buried in the tickable fine print that many people barely read. Further up it also asks customers if they understand that the OS will be EMUI10, but one could argue that this could be misunderstood.
Google was also not mentioned in any of the press materials from today’s announcement. While mentioning this is a little ‘inside baseball, it’s an important example of the lack of forthcoming there has been around this.
As for the price, it is still going to set “winners” back $1,599. While Huawei flagships are generally incredible, this seems steep considering what’s missing.
What that money does get you is a 6.53-inch display, triple rear camera setup (40MP + 40MP + 8MP) and a 4,500mAH battery, 32MP selfie cam. Down in the guts you’ll find 8GB RAM, 256GB storage and Huawei’s own Kirin 990 processor.
It will run on EMUI110, which is essentially open-sourced Android 10 minus anything Google related.
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The treatment of Huawei by the U.S. has made me immensely sad – I adore their phones and was looking forward to the Mate 30. Just look at those monster specs.
But at some point the company needs to be more transparent about its positioning and what users will get on the devices that launch during Trump’s ban.
While Huawei certainly couldn’t have launched the Mate 30 to the same scale as the P30, a weird faux ‘competition’ launch where the details are buried in the fine print doesn’t seem like a good way to test the waters.
Repeatedly failing to answer questions regarding which popular apps can be expected to work is also deeply unhelpful, and not the best way to garner trust and support from Australian customers.