Apps

Can you get most of your favorite apps on new Huawei smartphones?

Operative word being ‘most’

Published

on

The short answer is “yes.” But there’s certainly so much more that goes into it.

By now it’s no secret that there’s something missing from Huawei’s latest flagships that we’ve all been accustomed to using. Even so, your Mate 30 or P40 still has plenty of “smart” in that smartphone. That goes beyond what you’ll find on the AppGallery.

If you hang around a lot of tech pages or blogs, you’d know exactly what’s missing. People are quick to point that out whenever stories about Huawei’s new phones come up.

You would have also probably noticed all the sponsored articles on the matter. To be clear, this particular article isn’t. The rest of the team is working on those because we gotta keep the lights on. For today, this here is more of an honest, and hopefully helpful take on the matter.

Some of their communication strategy which involves highlighting the number of apps available and how it’s now the third largest App Store, I think, is a little misguided. But that’s a conversation for another day. For now, I’ll try to answer some questions that some friends and GadgetMatch followers have asked.

What can you find on AppGallery?

A lot, it turns out. When the Huawei Mate 30 series first came out, the app selection was looking a little lean. Fast forward to a few months later and the apps you’ve come to know and love are all starting to slowly be available.

In the Philippines you already have Viber, WeChat, Lazada, SnapChat and some pretty useful ones like GCash, PayMaya, SHAREit, and Canva among others.

In Singapore, transportation and ride-hailing apps like ComfortDelgro, TADA and RYDE have already made their way to the AppGallery.

You can also find links to your favorite apps that aren’t available for direct download on AppGallery. Say for example, WhatsApp. Here’s how you can get it.

Step 1: Search Whatsapp official link in the AppGallery.

Step 2: Click on the selection that says Official download link from Whatsapp to open the link.

Step 3: Once directed to the Whatsapp official website, click download now and installation will take place immediately.

What about apps that are NOT on AppGallery?

Fun fact: There’s a wishlist section on the AppGallery where you can let Huawei know what apps you desperately want to be available. Just make sure your App Gallery is updated so you can find it.

Huawei is pouring a lot of resources to make sure ALL the apps are available on the App Gallery. They’re not there yet. However, with the company being aggressive, the growth is promising.

If you really need to get your hands on certain apps there’s a workaround. There are third-party app stores that you can get to through the phone’s browser. Sites and apps like APKPure and APKMonk provide you access to apps that may not yet be present on the App Gallery.

Personally, I’ve opted to go the APKPure route. If you’re worried about updates, APKPure actually handles that for you. Since installing some apps, I’ve consistently gotten updates that cover both new features and additional security.

Is the AppGallery secure? 

In a previous article, Huawei confidently told us, “We do not touch data. That’s a policy from top-down.” They also pointed out how they have never been caught doing anything with users’ data — that’s something that can’t be said from the likes of Google or Facebook.

Huawei also sent us a presser on how secure the App Gallery is. It talked about a four-layer threat detection. It detects malicious in-app behaviour, including activities such as eavesdropping on users, monitoring users, and taking screenshots or screen recordings without authorization. You can find more details here.

In a lot of ways, it’s similar to Google’s Play Protect and the security layers on Apple’s App Store. It’s likely not perfect, but it’s there and it will detect and deter malicious software.

Now on the US government’s accusations of Huawei working in tandem with the Chinese government to spy on its users, the company has adamantly denied this. For its part, the US hasn’t been able to provide any substantial proof to back its claim. Remember, burden of proof lies on the accuser.

The Chinese government itself is a whole other socio-political issue altogether. Until a solid link is established, Huawei probably knows about you just as much what phone makers like Apple and Samsung do. Which I would argue is much less than the amount of personal data available to the likes of Facebook or Google.

Missing Google 

Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) is far from complete. It’s missing certain essentials — one in particular is a reliable maps app. You would still have to go to the browser and search for Google Maps for something that’s actually usable.

For many Google apps, that’s your workaround. Look for it from the browser and create a shortcut on your homescreen. If this is something you can live with, well and good. But it’s hardly an ideal setup.

I rely on several Google services that have no alternatives — a lot of which are actually present even on iPhones. Two in particular are Google Cast and Google Photos. Don’t get me started with Huawei Cloud. It just isn’t the same.

Cast is fine, I imagine not a lot of people will use it. But there’s no alternative to the features and convenience of Google Photos. Unlimited photo backup with access to nearly every other device. That, to me, is irreplaceable.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place

As a regular user, I honestly am not sure what the right move here is. I would love to see HMS take-off. If they can find a way to have their services perform in a manner similar or close to what we get from GMS, that’s great. However, I’m not even sure if that’s possible.

If you’ve seen our Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro video, the retail box comes with a tagline saying “with easy access to the Google apps you use most.” Our sources say this won’t be unique to Xiaomi. We should expect new Android phones to have this tagline on retail boxes as well.

That’s a clear flex from the US Government, striking some sort of agreement with Google to have Android phone makers include this tagline. Huawei is unfairly put in a disadvantageous position. Their only fault? Being a company from China.

Huawei needs to continue selling phones so they can keep pouring resources into building up HMS. If you’re going to listen to “global” (Western, really) reviewers alone, they will tell you that they “can’t recommend” at least the Mate 30 and the P40 series because of what’s missing. That’s not entirely wrong.

However, if you’re the type who can live with some of the compromises for now, by all means, get the new Huawei flagships. Help them get HMS up to speed. Because at the rate things are going, Huawei being able to stand on its own is more likely to happen than the US letting Google work with them.

You can put GMS on the new Huawei phones. It can be quite cumbersome and isn’t a method I personally recommend, so I’m not going to tell you how. If you want to find out for yourself, you can always Google it.

Apps

TikTok officially launches a dislike button

Published

on

Months ago, TikTok started experimenting with a dislike button for the platform’s comments. Much like other platforms, the company is creating a way to promote healthier discourse. However, the experiment never had a launch date all those months ago. Finally, after months in development, TikTok is finally ready to launch the dislike button.

Through the platform’s official Twitter account, TikTok is releasing the dislike button. This time, the platform has explained how the feature will work.

As detailed before, users will not see how many dislikes a comment has. Users will only have access to the button itself to dislike and retract dislikes. Only TikTok itself can see the number of dislikes. The platform will then use the information to filer through potential hate speech and harassment that they might have missed the first go-around.

By hiding the number of dislikes, TikTok hopes that users will not be tempted to abuse the dislike button to brigade against just simply unpopular opinions.

While moderation will help the platform with a persistent problem in social media, the company does have other issues. One current problem — that has plagued the platform for years now — is the issue of China’s potential access to data from users in other countries.

SEE ALSO: TikTok is experimenting with a dislike button for comments

Continue Reading

Apps

Instagram can soon detect nude photos in your DMs

Currently testing

Published

on

One of the constant risks of online communication is the unexpected and unsolicited appearance of an unsightly growth emanating from a stranger’s pants. Unfortunately, not a lot of platforms offer anything preventative, outside of just blocking the offender. Testing a new tool, Instagram is finally implementing a way to automatically detect and block nudity from your DMs.

The upcoming feature was first spotted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi on Twitter. According to early screenshots, Instagram will hide any suspected nude photos behind a prompt. Users can then choose to access the photo despite the warning. Notably, users can turn this feature off entirely.

Shortly after the leak, Meta confirmed the feature’s development through a statement issued to The Verge. While the feature is still in development, Instagram is still working on ways to protect both the sender’s identity and the recipient’s privacy.

Though the screenshots look conclusive, the feature has yet to reveal how the app can detect genitalia. A portion of the warning says that “technology on your device” is responsible. If the feature is indeed using native technology, Instagram has some work to do to assure users that it can’t store or see anyone’s nude photos.

SEE ALSO: Instagram bans Pornhub

Continue Reading

Apps

Spotify adds over 300,000 audiobooks to library

Available for purchase and offline listening

Published

on

After a massive push into the world of podcasts, it’s only natural that Spotify would soon look at audiobooks with a hungry eye. In the United States, the streaming platform has added a huge helping of audiobooks available for purchase.

It’s been a long time coming, too. Last year, the platform added a variety of books from the public domain for free. Narrated by famous actors like Forest Whitaker and Hilary Swank, the content came to every user, free or paying.

Now, Spotify is adding over 300,000 titles to its library. Starting today, users in the United States will have access to a dedicated section for the format. Interested users will then be led to an external link where they can purchase the book for themselves.

For consumption, Spotify will enable users to save their audiobook for offline listening. It will also allow users to control the speed of the book’s playback.

Prior to the addition, Spotify already had a niche community for audiobook lovers. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find readings of popular titles outside of the platform’s public domain offerings. You might find them lurking as albums or as podcasts. Now, however, it’s official. If you want an actual audiobook to listen to, you can choose to skip over a subscription to other audiobook platforms like Audible.

Besides audiobooks, the platform has also expanded into other services related to audio entertainment. One recent example sees Spotify selling tickets to live events directly from the service.

SEE ALSO: Spotify is now adding free audiobooks

Continue Reading

Trending