Huawei yesterday launched its latest flagship smartphone at a special event in Munich.

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is the company’s latest and greatest phone designed to go head-to-head with the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S10.

However, because of a trade ban imposed on the company by Donald Trump, it will arrive with none of the Google apps and services that users have come to expect. There will be no Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube or – crucially – access to the Google Play Store.

At the launch, the Chinese firm spoke briefly about its own app store, AppGallery, which will serve as an apparent alternative to Google’s catalogue.

Initial use of AppGallery showed a number of omissions, such as WhatsApp and Instagram. Huawei also failed to state a release date for the Mate 30 series.

The company was effectively blacklisted by the US government in May, amid allegations it was a threat to US national security because of alleged close ties to the Chinese government – something Huawei has always denied.

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A temporary licence was issued by the US government earlier in the summer and renewed again towards the end of August, which has allowed Huawei to maintain existing devices, but does not apply to new products.

Android, the world’s most widely used operating system run by Google, is allowed on the Mate 30 line of devices because it is open-source, but without access to the Google Play Store.

This not only means that Google’s main apps will not be accessible, but there also will not be an easy way for people to download and install their other favourite third-party apps as they would from Google Play.

Huawei has long sold Android phones without Google apps in China, but in other countries such as the UK, where the likes of Chrome and Gmail are widely used, it could prove to be a hard sell for consumers.

Instead of mentioning any of this, Richard Yu (the chief executive of Huawei Consumer Business Group) put the emphasis of the event largely on hardware features such as the cameras and battery, with scant detail about software.

Quick glimpses of the smartphone’s display also showed little sign of any Google apps.

‘Google was the elephant in the room as Huawei launched the Mate 30,’ commented Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com. ‘All the talk before the launch was of how the Chinese manufacturer would reassure fans concerned about the absence of Google apps and services from the smartphone.

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‘Fans expecting Huawei to announce a workaround to allow users to get hold of Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube, were informed that phone store staff would help customers to ‘side-load’ the apps – although this could deter consumers who are more likely to transact online.’

He continued: ‘Chief Executive Richard Yu also announced that the alternative to the Google Play Store would be the Huawei App Gallery, but there are still question marks about the apps which would be available on the manufacturer’s own store.

‘The situation will surely leave fans wondering whether or not to invest in a phone that may not give them access to the apps they use every day.’

Huawei has previously assured customers that all phones sold prior to the US/China trade war will continue to be supported and updated as normal.