Huawei courts app developers with $1-billion incentives

Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2019 05:32 PM

Huawei's Mate 30 Pro smartphone, its first to ship without Google services out of the box, is shown in this photo. ABS-CBN News

MUNICH -- Huawei will continue offering open-source Android on “outstanding hardware,” while encouraging developers with $1 billion (P52 billion) in incentives to build apps for its own platform, an official said.

The world’s second largest smartphone vendor is adopting a 3-point strategy: hardware, Huawei Mobile Services or HMS and EMUI, the Android version that runs on half a billion active devices, said Jervis Su, vice president for consumer mobile services of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group.

There are no “specific” plans yet to roll out Huawei’s own operating system, Harmony, Su said when asked when the first Harmony smartphone will be released.

The Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro, unveiled here on Thursday, run on Android 10 and Huawei's EMUI 10. The devices will not ship with Google services out of the box due to a sales ban installed by US President Donald Trump.

“Huawei is in a position to provide outstanding hardware. We believe we can provide great services to the users and that is the most important thing for us,” Su said.

Like the Mate 30 series, Su said future Huawei devices would launch without Google Mobile Services or GMS. Current devices “will not be useless” and will continue to run GMS, he said.

“Will the situation change in the future? That is probably a question for President Trump,” he said.

Huawei said it was offering up to $1 billion in incentives to developers to create apps for its devices.

There are 1 million registered developers for Huawei Mobile Services, which can cater to 570 million active Huawei device owners in 170 countries, Su said.

“We have to work together with our partners,” Su told reporters here. “HMS (Huawei Mobile Services) is the platform, the partner will provide to the consumer.”

When translated to Chinese, the word crisis is spelled with two characters, the second of which means “opportunity,” Su said. “Whenever there is a crisis, it means opportunity for us.”

User demand will determine which apps will be available on the Huawei app store, Su said. Of the 1 million apps on offer, 10,000 are considered “frequently used,” he said.

“Regarding the download of apps, users can find other ways to download apps, for example, from webpages,” he said.

Huawei’s App Gallery, where users can download third-party applications has 390 million monthly active users, Su said. There are tens of millions of users for its proprietary apps, 200 million for Browser, 160 million for Cloud, 160 million for Music, 140 million for Assistant, 130 million for video and 70 million for themes.

Software developers and app developers, especially in the Asia-Pacific are “adapting” to Huawei’s predicament, Su said.

“The Mate 30 is facing an entirely new situation we have never seen before. In the wake of this situation, developers adapt to the current situation,” he said.

“We can only address the change,” he said.