Has any company ever been treated like Huawei has been over the last year by the Trump administration? Last year the manufacturer was banned from accessing its U.S. supply chain on which it spent $18 billion in 2018. The ban also stopped Huawei from licensing Google Mobile Services preventing the firm’s international phones from running Google’s apps (most are already banned in China). Despite all of this hardship, Huawei still was able to grow its smartphone shipments by 17% last year to 240 million units surpassing Apple as the second-largest company in the industry.
Huawei’s new Petal Search app gives the middle finger to the U.S.
Huawei users are going to want Petal Search installed on their phones
Huawei’s growth in smartphone shipments couldn’t have pleased the U.S. Commerce Department and its octogenarian Secretary Wilbur Ross. We’re pretty sure that President Donald Trump also didn’t do a dance for joy when he saw that Huawei managed to thrive despite the supply chain ban. So after saying that Huawei had “stepped-up efforts to undermine these national security-based restrictions,” Ross tightened-up a U.S. export rule and essentially took control over shipment of chips to the Chinese manufacturer. Any foundry, including TSMC, must obtain an export license before sending chips to the company. Wafers being produced now can still be shipped as long as they are delivered before September 15th which means that the Huawei Mate 40 line will probably still arrive this fall powered by 5nm Kirin chipsets.
While Huawei is still going to have to figure out a way very soon to obtain advanced chips, it has figured out a way to replace Google Search and allow its phones to run U.S. developed apps. According to Forbes, found in Huawei’s own Android app storefront AppGallery is a new listing for Petal Search. The app provides “daily weather forecasts and top news; live sports scores and schedules; video, image, and music searches; and financial news and stock market updates.” When it comes to travel, it will “search millions of hotels worldwide and book rooms; and check flights and travel info for top global destinations.” Petal Search will also “look up local services and businesses with comprehensive directories.” But that’s not the part that might get the U.S. government in an uproar.
The cool feature of Petal Search is the one that allows users to search for their favorite apps and install them. If a particular app cannot be found in AppGallery, Petal Search will find a third-party app store that hosts it. Either way, the results will come with an install button to make things as easy as pie. Screenshots published by Huawei Central show that apps such as Amazon, Snapchat, Speedtest.net, and AccuWeather can be installed using the search engine. And as we discussed earlier this month, Huawei intends to differentiate itself from Google by making sure that its app storefront is more secure than the Play Store. Yes, Google has indeed had some issues scanning apps looking for malware. Huawei plans on making sure that developers are exactly who they say they are. Huawei has also pointed out the fact that it is not a data company like Google is, so it isn’t looking to sell any data generated by Petal Search to trackers looking to profit off of it.
Huawei says that “Petal Search puts the world in the palm of your hand. Search for your favorite Apps for your phone with our state of the art technology.” The app will even allow apps from U.S. developers to be loaded although Google’s core Android apps still remain off-limits. Still this is a big deal for Huawei and for those who purchased the Mate 30 and P40 lines. Surely Messrs. Ross and Trump will hear about this and find a way to lock out U.S. developed apps. But until then, Huawei users can enjoy using the Petal Search app.