In a nutshell: The Trump administration’s ban on US companies doing business with Huawei is expected to hammer its bottom line this year. But the Chinese giant has found a way to keep releasing phones with Google apps: re-launch old handsets.
It was back in May 2019 when the government declared a national emergency that banned US firms from dealing with “national security threat” Huawei, and others, without a license. It means that any of its devices launched after the ban, such as the Mate 30 Pro and the recent P40 Pro, lack Google’s suite of apps, including the Play Store, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, and the Google Assistant—something that puts off a lot of potential buyers.
To circumvent the ban, Huawei is re-releasing phones originally launched before it was put in place. They’ve been labeled as “New Editions,” and come with improved specs. There’s the Huawei P30 Pro New Edition and the P30 Lite New Edition, both of which were originally released in March 2019.
In the case of the P30 Pro, the baseline RAM is up from 6GB to 8GB, while the storage jumps from 128GB to 256GB. You also get an extra color choice, Android 10 instead of the previous version, and the price drops from $999 to around $852.
Huawei is expecting its phone sales to drop by around 20 percent in 2020, and the situation is being compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier this week, the Trump administration announced it was extending the executive order for a whole year. A “support exemption” for Huawei customers remains in place, so phones launched before the ban will continue to receive Google updates.