The Huawei Mate 30 series arrives
Yesterday, Huawei revealed its major H2 flagships, the Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro (Android Authority). As expected, they arrived without Google services.
This marks a turning point for the company, and perhaps Android itself, as the second-biggest smartphone maker in the world launches phones without Apple or Google app store access. Here’s what we saw at yesterday’s event.
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro
- Before talking about what the Mate 30 Pro is missing, let’s take a look at the hardware it delivers:
Display: 6.53-inch curved OLED (with notch), 2,400 x 1,176 resolution
Chip: Kirin 990
ROM: 128GB / 256GB
Rear cameras: 40MP f/1.6, 40MP f/1.8 ultra-wide, 8MP f/2.4 3x telephoto, 3D depth sensor
Front camera: 32MP, 3D depth sensor
OS: Android 10 (and EMUI 10)
- These characteristics put the Mate 30 Pro squarely at the most premium end of the smartphone spectrum.
- Looks-wise, you can’t miss it: it has a large, boxy body with a notch at the top and an unmissable circular camera cutout on the rear.
- Speaking of cameras, the four rear sensors — including two huge 40MP sensors — will surely help put this among the best smartphones for camera quality (expect some critics to crown it the best).
- It can also shoot ultra-slow motion at a ridiculous 7680fps at 720p.
- But it lacks a headphone port. Boo.
- Huawei showed off a Mate 30 Pro 5G model too, as well as a variant with a vegan leather rear.
- The Mate 30 Pro will start at 1,099 Euros, the Mate 30 Pro 5G starts at 1,199 Euros, but Huawei didn’t talk release date or markets.
- Here’s a hands-on video with the device from Android Authority (YouTube).
From a hardware standpoint, it looks like a beast. There’s just one problem…
The app situation
- The Huawei Mate 30 series doesn’t support apps like YouTube, Maps, and Gmail, and it can’t run the Google Play Store.
- This is a result of the ongoing trade ban the U.S. has imposed on Huawei. It isn’t of Huawei’s own volition.
- Mate 30 owners will have to rely on Huawei’s own marketplace called AppGallery if they want to download apps instead.
- Little is known about this yet, but it won’t house anywhere near as many apps as Google Play, though WhatsApp and Instagram have been confirmed for it (BBC).
- Huawei said there may be a way to sideload Google apps onto the phones in the future, but details are murky.
- In a group interview, Huawei’s Richard Yu said Google services could potentially be rolled out to the Mate 30 “over one night,” should the trade ban be lifted.
What about the standard Mate 30?
- The regular Mate 30 model is a lower-spec’d, less expensive version of the Pro model.
- Oddly, it’s slightly bigger than the Mate 30 Pro overall, but also with a slightly smaller battery capacity at 4,200mAh, and a smaller notch.
- Its camera setup isn’t as high performance, with lower resolution sensors on the front (24MP vs 32MP) and back (40MP + 16MP + 8MP vs 40MP + 40MP + 8MP), and no 3D face unlock.
- But it does have a headphone port.
- Otherwise, it’s very similar to the Pro model, with essentially the same resolution display, same chipset, and up to 8GB RAM.
- The Huawei Mate 30 starts at 799 Euros.
Will anybody buy these phones?
- Huawei is in an unfortunate situation, being forced to launch a new phone range with what Western consumers will see as a crippling caveat.
- The big question is whether the Mate 30 series does enough to justify the lack of Google Play and Google Services access.
- For me, that would be a no.
- Huawei can’t spring to life an app store like Google Play, and the Google Play Services are far too important to overlook, despite great hardware.
- As my colleague David Imel put it in his hands-on for Android Authority:
- "On one hand, it’s a beautiful, powerful Android flagship that makes almost no compromises in terms of build quality and hardware. On the other, it’s hobbled by the absence of Google’s apps and services, which are a major part of the Android experience."
- It may not be a big deal for Huawei in China, where it doesn’t rely on Google services anyway, but for the Western world, I think most people will see it as a deal-breaker.
📱 iOS 13 is here and you can download it now for iPhones going all the way back to 2015’s iPhone 6S. It’s coming with a revamped photos app, system-wide dark mode, and more — here’s a full feature rundown (MacRumors). You might want to wait for version 13.1 before installing, though: there are bugs galore (Wired).
⌚ Also from the Mate 30 launch event, Huawei announced the Watch GT 2 smartwatch, which it claims has a two-week battery life. More in this hands-on (Android Authority).
⚡ Google to invest record-breaking amount in renewable energy (Engadget). 18 deals worth more than $2 billion, apparently.
🏞 Meanwhile, Amazon plans to hit climate goals ten years ahead of Paris agreement schedule (CNET). It’s ambitious, but should we expect less from Bezos?
🤖 And in other billionaire stories, Alibaba founder Jack Ma says AI could help bring us to a 12-hour workweek (CNBC). Ma highlighted how the development of electricity helped give people more free time so they could, among other things, “Go to the karaoke in the evening.” It's what I do.
🏨 Airbnb says it plans to go public in 2020 (New York Times).
💵 Comcast promised not to raise prices — guess what happened next (Ars Technica). Did it raise prices? Yes, according to a new lawsuit.
🐱👤 Silicon Valley is terrified of California’s privacy law. Good (TechCrunch). On January 1, 2020, California’s Consumer Privacy Act will go into effect. “For California residents, these are extremely powerful provisions that allow consumers access to their own information from companies that collect an increasingly alarming amount of data on their users.” Many major tech companies are against the measures.
📺 Android TV to receive Android 10 update before the year’s end (Android Authority).
🎮 Switch Light reviews are live with most agreeing its an excellent, cheaper Switch model for those who don’t care about playing on TV. Here’s one of the reviews (Kotaku).
🤔 Which bad films could be remade into great films? (r/AskReddit). What do you think? I reckon Avatar: The Last Airbender should be among them. Fantastic source material, while the movie has a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was trash.
Use the Rubik Cube solver program to calculate the solution for your unsolved Rubik's Cube.
For this week’s Friday Fun, let’s head over to the comedy wildlife photography awards.
- The 40 finalists for this year’s awards have now been selected, with the winners set to be announced November 13.
- These include photos of a vengeful rhinoceros, a laughing owl, and several show-off monkeys.
- All 40 shots, plus those of the previous years' winners and finalists, are viewable online at the official website.
- Here’s the kind of thing you can expect to see there:
Have a great weekend,
Scott Adam Gordon, Editor.