The Mate 30 Pro will be enormously important for Huawei, but perhaps also for the whole smartphone market. The smartphone may well mark a turning point for the industry.
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The Huawei Mate 30 Pro? Just a smartphone, who cares? And anyway, without Google apps and services the Chinese company will soon run out of steam anyway, nobody buys that here. You hear and read such things more often at the moment when it comes to the upcoming smartphone from the world's second-largest manufacturer behind Samsung - ahead of Apple. But maybe that's a pretty closed-minded way of thinking about this. In fact, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and its sister models could change the market quite a bit overall.
Problems with the U.S. are forcing Huawei to deliver the Mate 30 Pro without pre-installed Google services, and that's a bitter pill to take. The majority of customers will be uncertain and wonder whether Baidu Maps or WeChat are really the alternatives to Google Maps and Gmail. No, they shouldn't be, at least not directly.
Huawei has to step out of its comfort zone
The Trump administration's embargo forces Huawei, but also its customers indirectly, to step outside of their comfort zone. That hurts, because Huawei has gotten very comfortable with Google in Europe. The Google platform and the numerous other business relationships with established U.S. companies have allowed the company under the leadership of Richard Yu to rise from an unknown no-name manufacturer to one of the top brands in just a few years. Now, whether Trump is going to give in or not, creative approaches for another direction are in demand.
I wrote a few weeks ago that Harmony OS and some other developments could mark the end of Android as we know it today, and that even for Google it wouldn't be the end of the world. The Mate 30 Pro and the other smartphones from this series will be a further step in the emancipation of Google, which will not only affect Huawei, but also the other manufacturers of Android smartphones.
The fact that Huawei builds the best hardware on the market is a proven fact. The camera is among the best you can buy, the Kirin chips have the most advanced technology. At Huawei, 5G is way ahead of the competition, workmanship and design are also first class. The company has the resources, both financially and in terms of talent, and the staying power to create something new in software as well, even if the road is rocky and there is by no means a certain success at the end - Windows Phone, Blackberry OS and many others are waving to you from the digital nirvana.
The first steps towards emancipation
But whether Harmony OS can or would even come close to outstripping Android from 2020 is not the point I want to make. Huawei is forced by the current developments to reduce its dependence on Google and other U.S. companies, which dominate the smartphone market with overwhelming power, if it wants to continue competing - and that is guaranteed. So with the Mate 30 and the upcoming Huawei smartphones, we will see both bigger and smaller steps away from Google and into a future with less U.S. influence.
Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Sony, and Co. will watch this development very closely, not only because of the competition from Huawei, but out of self-interest. Who knows which target the spell will hit next time? It's a bit like the YouTubers and Influencers who base their business solely on platforms whose rules are completely out of their control. If the rules of the game are changed or access is blocked, your world quickly starts to fall apart. If there is the possibility of putting one's own business model on more than one leg, many manufacturers will think very hard about it. This is the big chance Huawei has for the future.
Huawei won't get there yet with the Mate 30, of course. The smartphone will have a hard time convincing customers to buy great hardware without the software. But the first step is always the most difficult, and it is quite possible that the chosen direction will lead to success in the end.