The US is currently at war with China, not a conventional war, something of a cold war. If you’re wondering how that factors into you buying a Huawei device in Nigeria, here’s a kicker to get you started: Huawei is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, and Google, the company that makes the software on which Huawei smartphones run, is an American company.
The recent trade war has both companies caught in a crossfire, with the US issuing an embargo on Huawei late-2019. In policy, the embargo prevents US-owned companies from doing business with Huawei on the grounds of ‘national security.’ Google is a US company, and right now, they no longer ‘do business’ with Huawei.
No Google business, no Google Play, but more importantly, No Android OS
The standoff means Huawei loses its licenses to run Google commissioned software on any of its newer phones. That includes everything from the Android OS, Google Play, Google Play Services, and other apps like Google Maps and Gmail.
Older phones that were released before the ban was passed last year can still run these apps, and Google says they will still work with Huawei to release updates for these phones. However, for newer devices, specifically those announced or released after May 16, 2019, apps, updates, and Google support are out of the equation.
What does that mean for you as a user in Nigeria
If you’ve ever used an Android device, you’ll understand that the apps I just listed complete the Android experience, not to mention the Android OS itself is the Android experience. Are you thinking about buying a Huawei device in Nigeria right now? Better be prepared to live without Google and its apps.
Right now, Huawei phones should be off your shopping carts
There were many workarounds to install these apps on newer Huawei devices, but right now, most of them have stopped working. And even the ones that still work are at risk of getting banned anytime soon.
Overall, installing Google commissioned apps is an additional technicality. If you’re just an everyday smartphone user, it really is an unnecessary chore to bother yourself with. That’s aside from the numerous security risks you put your device in if you chose to take this route. Huawei manufactures some excellent phones; there’s no arguing that, but if you just need a smartphone that works perfect and smooth out of the box, you’re better off with another manufacturer.
Which smartphone manufacturer can substitute Huawei in Nigeria now?
Huawei’s core value proposition was providing top-tier specs plus a quality build in a smartphone at a price that wouldn’t break the bank. It was effectively a ‘bargain’ premium smartphone manufacturer. If you’re looking for more of the same, something that’s not as expensive as a Samsung or an iPhone but with the same capability, I have some brands I can recommend.
Top brands that can substitute for Huawei
Like Huawei, Xiaomi is a Chinese company. But, unlike the former, it’s not a US target in the ongoing quasi trade war. Xiaomi phones can and still run on Android with official support from Google. Xiaomi’s pricing is also very Huawei-isque, and their smartphone bouquet matches what’s currently offered by Huawei.
Umidigi is not an exact match to Xiaomi. Their phones have more decent specifications, and the build quality is not that excellent. That said, their prices are very reasonable, and overall the phones they make are not too shabby. If you’re willing to compromise a little, I’m taking a downgrade from QUALCOMM processors to those from MediaTek, but with an upside that you save a lot (Umidigi’s flagship A9 Pro ships with 6GB of RAM and 256GB, but costs just $120) then Umidigi is definitely worth the consideration.
Realme is a brand I only started covering recently, and I’m still waiting to get my hands on some of their smartphones. On first impressions and from the spec-sheet I’ve seen, they seem like a smartphone brand that can Rival Huawei in every right.
There was a major shakeup at Nokia a while ago that ended with HMG global buying the company. Since that time, they’ve gone on to debut an impressive Android smartphone array (I’ll be doing a review of the Nokia 2.4 later on, so watch out for that). All in all, the phones they’ve released so far look good, at least on paper. Since it’s Nokia, you don’t have to worry about the build quality also; it’s sure to match – if not surpass – that from Xiaomi.
So, to conclude, should you buy a Huawei phone? Nope! Not for now, except you’re prepared to engage in some rather tedious smartphone ‘hacking’ and ‘cracking.’ There are other phones out there that do a lot of what Huawei does. You should try them out instead.