Outside China, Android isn’t Android without Google
Illustration by William Joel / The Verge
The tech story that made the biggest impact on me yesterday was Sam Byford’s “Living a Google-free life with a Huawei phone.” In the run up to the launch of Huawei’s new flagship P40 line, he got himself a Mate 30 Pro and used it to see what Android is like sans Google. This is, of course, something untold millions of people in China do every day, but outside China Huawei falls in a weird zone where it doesn’t have its local China services nor Google services.
The result, as Sam writes, is weird. But what struck me the most is how essential Google Mobile Services (GMS) are to the functioning of every modern Android phone outside of China. You might already expect that not having Gmail, Chrome, and the Play Store would be annoying — but…