Huawei recently launched its new P40 Lite smartphone in South Africa – offering local buyers an affordable handset with flagship features.
The P40 Lite includes a high-end quad-lens rear camera system, modern chassis and display design, and impressive internal components which include 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.
Like previous Huawei devices, the P40 Lite runs Android 10, although instead of Google Mobile Services (GMS), the P40 Lite’s operating system runs Huawei Mobile Services (HMS).
This means that certain Google services are not installed by default, and instead of logging into your devices with your Google account, you will instead need to log in with your Huawei ID.
It is important to note that many Google applications still work on the Huawei P40 Lite; HMS integration simply means that the device uses your Huawei account and the Huawei AppGallery to source applications and integrate native features.
Instead of the Google Play Store, Huawei P40 Lite users can download applications from the Huawei AppGallery, which includes a collection of popular international and local applications.
These include major mobile banking apps from South African companies, local safety and shopping apps, international navigation tools, and major social media applications including Facebook and WhatsApp.
Huawei supplied the new P40 Lite to MyBroadband for review, and we tested out its app and ecosystem offering.
We were impressed at the ability to install popular applications on the P40 Lite, and we have outlined this process below.
Installing the applications
Once you have booted up your Huawei P40 Lite and logged into your account, you will be presented with the familiar Android interface populated by a number of pre-installed Huawei applications.
Among these icons is Huawei AppGallery, which should be your first stop for installing your favourite applications on your smartphone.
AppGallery’s home screen includes a selection of recommended apps from local and international companies and local developers, as well as access to mobile games and an online support portal.
If you cannot find your desired app on the home screen, you can simply search for the application within AppGallery.
This will present you with a list of downloads hosted on the app store, or redirect you to the official distributor of the application – where you can download the app directly.
Applications like Facebook and WhatsApp are not available directly from AppGallery, but searching for them will redirect you to their official app download pages.
Some apps, such as Google Maps and YouTube, require a different installation process.
While apps like Gmail, YouTube, Maps, and Instagram cannot be installed as standalone applications, each of them is available through a web interface.
This means that when you search for these applications on AppGallery, you will be presented with a link to their mobile websites that will open in your smartphone browser.
By creating shortcuts to these websites on your home screen, you can mirror the functionality of the standard applications through a web interface.
Using the apps
Using applications on the Huawei P40 Lite is the same as any other Android device, although a selected few features which are dependant on GMS will no longer be available.
These include features such as quick Google logins and Google Drive backups.
Regular features function perfectly well, however, and we were able to use Facebook and WhatsApp perfectly without a Google account.
Additionally, we could easily use the web versions of YouTube, Maps, and Gmail, and there was little difference between the web versions of these applications and their standalone apps.
Experienced Android users can also greatly augment their experience by installing third-party APKs.
This practice carries increased security risks, but Huawei greatly mitigates these by providing an automatic app security scan for any APK installed on its HMS-powered devices.
This makes it easy to find the app of your choice and install it on your P40 Lite. It is important to note, however, that the security of APKs is not as assured as that of apps on AppGallery.
Images of applications installed on the Huawei P40 Lite are shown below.