Though Huawei runs on Android and used the Google Play Store for a number of years, the Chinese technology giant is moving to its own app store – the Huawei AppGallery.
The firm’s app distribution platform is the biggest challenger to iOS and Android to date, and whilst it’s still minuscule in comparison right now, the service will no doubt grow in the coming years.
AppGallery is exclusive to Huawei mobile devices, and allows users to search, download, manage, and share mobile apps. The service was launched following the United States’ decision to bar companies from dealing directly with Huawei.
Although Google applied for an exception – keen to hold onto its revenue from the Chinese tech firm – Huawei has decided it was time to branch out into its own operating system, and AppGallery is the first major step.
The Mate 30, Mate 30 Pro and new P40 Series are the first handsets to be packaged with the AppGallery, which is similar to the App Store and Play Store. Indeed, App Gallery has a range of tabs for Featured Apps, Categories, and a Search interface.
There are some subtle differences that you should be aware of, though, which we’ve outlined in our article below.
Now that you know what the Huawei AppGallery is, the next question is why should you care? We’ve rounded up some of the reasons why you should develop for the platform…
Huawei continues to grow
Though you don’t hear people get as excited about the next Huawei phone as you do the next iPhone, the company actually overtook Apple is 2019 and is now the second-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Indeed, Huawei shipped more than 240 million units in 2019( that’s year-over-year growth of 16%) and stands in second place with an 18.6% share of the smartphone market, compared to Samsung’s 21.8% and Apple’s 13% share.
That’s off the back of an impressive range of new smartphones, including the 5G-enabled Huawei P40 5G, which is supported by UK networks like Vodafone, Three, Virgin, Carphone Warehouse and EE.
As more consumers swap out their Samsung and Google-branded phones for Huawei alternatives which are cheaper and more powerful, their market share will continue to increase, and AppGallery will become a genuine competitor to the Play Store.
Critics are happy without Google Play Store
Huawei’s decision to remove Google’s Mobile Services from its devices was controversial, the truth is that most critics have praised the company’s move.
One tech critic in Forbes wrote that: “Living without the full Google Mobile Services is easier than you think, though it’s not for everybody.” Sure, that means that apps such as Google Maps and YouTube are not natively supported as they would be if Huawei used the default Android experience, but there are ways to install third-party APKs to Huawei phones and bypass the AppGallery.
And as the service becomes more popular, more apps are making their way to the platform to serve customers. In the UK, brands like The Sun, BBC News, Just Eat, Trainline, and more have launched apps on the platform, demonstrating their commitment to Huawei.
Further diversifications are coming
Another reason why it pays to get aboard the AppGallery hype train is that Huawei is set to introduce significant new updates and features in the coming months. Keen to distance itself from Google and Apple, and launch its own rival services, Huawei has already launched Huawei Pay in Russia, China, Pakistan, with more territories coming soon.
That’s on top of MEETime, their alternative to FaceTime, custom Huawei Search, a Huawei Video app, and more, which opens up new opportunities for developers and companies looking to tap into emerging technologies. Launching now gives you access to those features down the line.
If you’re still on the fence about making the leap to the Huawei AppGallery, let the statistics do the talking. Since its launch, the AppGallery has already attracted around 400 million global monthly average users, as well as one billion app downloads outside of China.
The platform boasts 30,000 top apps outside of China, with 55,000 apps integrated into its core ecosystem. AppGallery is also the third biggest app store in the world and rapidly growing.
It’s important to remember that Google’s services are banned in China, meaning that the AppGallery has already been in existence for some time. Unlike Microsoft and Samsung, which have both tried to launch their own rival app stores in recent years, Huawei already has an established ecosystem and user base in China and other Asian territories, and now wants to replicate its success in the West.
With a little support, that’s not an impossible task.
Huge promotional opportunities
Huawei is also keen to support UK-based app developers. BBC News, for example, was pushed via promotional activities on the AppGallery and attracted 308,000 downloads in just one month following its launch.
JD Sports, on the other hand, was released in March 2020 and attracted more than 176,000 downloads thanks to AppGallery promotional techniques.
Alongside brand tie-ins, the AppGallery offers splash screens to promote emerging apps, with three-second previews, as well as rotating banners, and a unique credit wallet which offers cash backs and gift campaigns to incentivise downloads on the platform. Called Gift Centre, this unique approach ultimately rewards customer loyalty and in-app engagement.
Based on Android
Finally, it’s important to remember that Huawei still runs on Android – it’s just the Google Mobile Services part that’s missing. Because of that, developers can submit their existing Android apps to the AppGallery.
Simply open a developer account, upload your Android APK, and after a 24-hour review, it will be published and available for users to download.
This means that, rather than developing for iOS, Android, and Huawei, you only have to create new content for two.
That’s not to say there aren’t issues with the AppGallery right now. Any integration with Google, for example, simply won’t work – you’ll need to overcome some challenges to comply with Huawei’s guidelines and deliver the same user experience.
There you have it – just some of the reasons why you should consider the Huawei AppGallery for your next app. If you’re looking for help porting your existing Android app over to the Huawei AppGallery, reach out to the team at Zudu for a free consultation.
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