Huawei has been rolling out new Android smartphones with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) for years now, but this should not concern South Africans with older Huawei handsets.
Huawei Mobile Services is the company’s own solution to replace Google Mobile Services (GMS), which is used on many Android smartphones around the world and provides compatibility and integration with Google’s proprietary services.
After the company was blacklisted by the United States and it was unable to sign new GMS licensing agreements with Google, Huawei launched its own solution – HMS.
This low-level software fulfils the same role as GMS but provides integration with Huawei services and the company’s own app store, AppGallery.
These solutions have grown significantly since launch, with HMS rolling out to more devices and advancing in functionality and AppGallery rapidly growing its selection of compatible apps.
Of the applications Huawei South Africa has identified as key to the South African market, it now has 97% of these now available through its ecosystem.
Development is continuing on HMS and the applications available in AppGallery, but many South Africans may be concerned about what this means for their older Huawei devices running GMS and using the Play Store.
Older Huawei smartphones running GMS
Huawei South Africa told MyBroadband that functionality on Huawei devices was developed for Android, which means that many of the new features available in newer smartphones are rolled out to older ones, regardless of whether they are running HMS or GMS.
Additionally, Huawei smartphones with HMS can also run HMS concurrently, allowing them to integrate with both Google and Huawei APIs and services seamlessly.
“Both of them are able to run simultaneously without the customer even knowing because it is not an operating system and it does not change the user interface,” Huawei said.
“If we launch a new device that is going to be running on HMS capability, those features will be available to customers with GMS devices.”
“We will continue to service and take care of customers who are on the GMS platform,” it said.
This essentially means that if you have a Huawei P30 or other GMS-enabled smartphone, you are able to continue using services and platforms such as Google Play Services and Google Drive.
You would also be able to use platforms and applications such as Huawei Pay, AppGallery, Petal Search, and other HMS-reliant applications without issues, as HMS capability has also been rolled out to these devices.
Impressive hardware sales
While Huawei has seen a fall-off in smartphone market share and sales volumes in certain markets, South African has proven resilient to any disruptive effects of the move to HMS.
Huawei told MyBroadband that the sales of its P40 Series smartphones in South Africa have been stable and that they increased significantly towards the latter part of 2020.
Mid-range smartphone sales have also been impressive, and the company is confident that South Africans have faith in the brand and are receptive of the new HMS and Huawei app ecosystem.
Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) South Africa president Jun Sun recently said Huawei HMS-powered smartphones achieved a 380% quarter-on-quarter increase in sales in Q3 2020, with a further 120% increase in Q4 2020.
“Our smartphone market share is still amongst the top two in South Africa,” he said.
He also said that Huawei became the number 1 PC brand in its respective channels shortly after the launch of the MateBook series.
“This gave us the confidence to bring more PCs to the South African market,” Sun said.
Huawei is now also the number one smartwatch brand in South Africa, he said, with the company seeing significant demand for laptops and wearables during the COVID-19 lockdown.