Some Android users might make light of the conundrum that Huawei has found itself in with regards to the US blacklist, Huawei phone owners are getting desperate for reassurance that their investments aren’t going to go up in smoke. That’s especially true for those who decided to buy the Huawei Mate 30 series, especially the $1,000 Mate 30 Pro. They’re unfortunately caught in a state of limbo and, sooner or later, there will be some enterprising people who will have no reservations taking advantage of them.
Android’s core may be open source but some of the most important components that users have grown to expect aren’t. Google’s Play Services and apps, specifically, are proprietary and require certification from the company to legally install and distribute. Certification that Huawei was not able to get in time for the Mate 30 series thanks to the US ban on doing business with the Chinese company.
There are ways to install Google Play on Android phones but, in addition to being unofficial (and arguably illegal), almost all those require modifying the phone through rooting or even just unlocking the bootloader, the latter of which Huawei says it has no plans on doing.
Recently, a third-party app by the name of LZPlay popped up to allow Huawei Mate 30 owners to install Google Play Store on their phones but it disappeared after it was revealed to be using undocumented APIs which meant compromising the security of the phones. Accordingly, Mate 30 units that used that method started failing Google’s SafetyNet test.
And now we have another workaround that practically involves installing the backup image of a Huawei Mate 30 Pro that still had Google Play installed via LZPlay.
It was specific to the Mate 30 Pro, since it was a system image, and still failed the SafetyNet test. That, too, has disappeared due to copyright issues as well as the idea of installing a stranger’s backup of a phone on your device.
While it seems that the window of opportunity is closing in on Mate 30 owners, these two incidents already show the lengths some will go through to get Google Play on their uncertified devices. The technical basis for these workarounds still exist and some may still try to exploit those in order to get Google Play up and running and to offer another workaround to users.
Given how deep those workarounds go, however, it won’t be long before one of them starts carrying some malware that will bring more headaches to users than just the absence of Google Play.