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Huawei AppGallery early 2020 experience

It's no secret that most Huawei handsets are equipped with some of the best hardware and cameras in the smartphone industry today. And, we won't be surprised if you are planning to buy one soon.
Huawei AppGallery early 2020 experience
Huawei P40 Pro comes with Huawei Mobile Services and App Gallery

However, even with no public evidence presented, the Trump administration added Huawei to its entity list back in May 2019 citing "national security" concerns AKA China-US trade war.

This move has prevented US companies like Google and Microsoft from working with Huawei, the world's second-biggest smartphone maker without a special license from the US Commerce Department.

Microsoft successfully obtained the license in November 2019 and Google said that they also applied for it. Huawei also noted that it is willing to work with Google again if the license will be granted by the US.

While we are waiting for that to happen, losing access to Google is probably one of the biggest setbacks for any other Android phone maker.

Fortunately, Huawei is known for providing solutions to problems.

The supposed "setback" allowed Huawei to innovate once more and it has lead to the creation of the Huawei Mobile Services and AppGallery.

Since then, Huawei has launched several handsets and tablets like the high-end Mate 30 series, P40 series, and MatePad Pro with Huawei Mobile Services and AppGallery instead of Google Mobile Services and Google Play.

Fast-forward in April 2020, the Huawei AppGallery is steadily growing and it is now the world's 3rd largest app market.

How's the AppGallery experience so far?

The AppGallery
The AppGallery

To download apps, you will have to have your own Huawei account. After creating your Huawei account, you can now search for the apps you need using the Huawei AppGallery.
Categories in the AppGallery
Categories in the AppGallery

Similar to the Google Play Store, the Huawei AppGallery is quite easy to use. Also, Huawei's catalog is now quite large as it has most of the popular Communication, Business, Games, Finance, Food, Transportation, and other apps.

In particular, I was able to easily download the essential and top apps that I use. This includes Viber, Booky, TikTok, PayMaya, GCash, Snapchat, WeChat, WeSing, Line, OWTO, Lazada, Shopee, Booking.com, Agoda, AnTuTu, and more.

I was also able to download banking apps like Metrobank, Union Bank, BDO and more.

Huawei also preloaded the Microsoft Office app and Bing Search on new Huawei smartphones and tablets.

Recently, Huawei also added the Grab app. Inside the AppGallery, there is now a shortcut link to popular apps such as Facebook and Twitter as well.

Related: Huawei gathers app developers in the Philippines

Apps not found in the AppGallery

The AppGallery is still new and it is normal that some apps are not yet available there. To download those apps, you can use the Huawei Browser or other app markets.

Some of the apps that I downloaded via browser include Instagram, Facebook - Messenger, Call of Duty: Mobile, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and more.

All you need to do is search for the APK of the app you want, download it, grant the necessary permissions, and enjoy.
How to add a shortcut link from the Huawei Browser
How to add a shortcut link from the Huawei Browser

For apps that you can't download like the BPI app, you can create a web shortcut. Just go to the website of the app, press the 3 dots near the URL, select Add to home screen, and press OK.

See also: Huawei secures AppGallery, now with four-layer threat detection

What about Google applications?

Admittedly, living without Google out of the box will require some adjustments. Personally, I often use Search, Keep, YouTube, and Drive.
Huawei Browser
Huawei Browser

To access those services, just go to the Huawei Browser and create a web shortcut like what we did with the BPI app. The web experience won't be as good as the native Google apps, but at least you can still use it.

You can also try to install alternative apps to browse YouTube such as NewPipe and Vanced.
Google on new Huawei phones
Google on new Huawei phones

Moreover, you can access Gmail using Huawei's default Email app. Just login to your Gmail account there and you are good to go. You can even add your work email account there as well.
Maps works
Maps works

In addition, there is a useful Google app that you can download even if your phone has no Google Mobile Services, Google Maps.

To download Maps, just search for its APK online, download it, and install it to your phone.

Quick thoughts

While it is still not perfect (no one is), Huawei's AppGallery is clearly growing and that's good news to current and future Huawei mobile users.

In just a few months after its launch, the AppGallery now has a lot of apps that are not present there before. Most likely, more and more popular apps will be added there in the coming months and years.

Personally, it would still be better if Huawei's Android devices will have Google Mobile Services and Huawei Mobile Services at the same time. But, Huawei is proving that you can still enjoy its phones despite not having Google out of the box.

Huawei's situation is also an eyeopener that putting all of your eggs in one basket could be risky. Relying on Google is easy. But, what if you are not allowed to use it anymore?

It's always better to have a backup plan.
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