Outside of China, Android is not Android without Google

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The technological story that had the most impact on me yesterday was “Living a life without Google with a Huawei phone” by Sam Byford. Prior to the launch of Huawei’s new flagship P40 line, he purchased a Mate 30 Pro and used it to see what Android looks like without Google. This is, of course, something that millions of people in China do every day, but outside of China Huawei is in a strange area where it has neither its local services in China nor its Google services.

The result, as Sam writes, is bizarre. But what struck me most was how essential Google Mobile Services (GMS) is for the operation of all modern Android phones outside of China. You might already expect not to have Gmail, Chrome, and the Play Store, but the fact that so many non-Google apps don’t work was a bit of a shock.

GMS and Google Play services have slowly grown to become essential components of the functioning of an Android phone. They are the way the web engine is updated, they are more and more how the operating system itself is updated (via Project Mainline), and they protect against malware – even for applications that you don’t load from the official Google Play Store.

They also offer many developer services, and this is the part that is easy to forget. Google services offer push notifications, location, broadcast, advertising media and much more. Huawei has developed its own services and stores to manage life away from Google, but the current situation is that the Mate 30 Pro does not even come with a viable card application. Android can be open source, but an Android phone doesn’t really work without Google, at least outside of China.

None of this is particularly shocking or even harmful, it’s just something that is not in front of you every day. Other operating systems like Windows and iOS are also linked to the company that makes them, which is so obvious that reporting it in the first place seems silly. But with Android, it’s worth remembering.

Today we will have wide coverage of Huawei’s new P40 series, so look forward to it. For what it’s worth, Huawei has said it will return to the U.S. if it can, but that looks unlikely in the near future. Also, thank you to everyone who emailed me today with their thoughts on the iPad – I’ll try to respond to everyone personally, but it will take a bit.


Product launches and updates

Google Podcasts Launches New Design and Launches on iOS. It looks like a huge upgrade and its availability on iOS makes it more attractive to people who need to be on multiple platforms. But the multiplatform king of podcast apps remains Pocket Casts, in my opinion. It’s also the rare app that’s great on all the platforms I’m using it from, from CarPlay to the web to Android to smart screens. In addition, it is not owned and operated by a giant technology company! (But to be fair, the NPR is not small.)

Royole Says FlexPai 2 Solves Problems With Its First Foldable. I love the fact that Royole is getting started with another foldable phone and promising that it will not be a mess like the first. I wonder why the display is marked “Cicada Wing”. Apparently, are they good at repelling water and self-cleaning? The wings I mean, not this screen.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab A offers LTE connectivity. I’m not sure I would recommend this to an iPad to anyone, but it’s inexpensive and gives you an LTE option if you want.

Samsung S10 and Note 10 are updated with the best S20 camera features.

Dell Now Lets You Control iPhones From Its PCs. It is legitimate for Dell to do it and not the Mac. I’m sure people will be quiet, but using the Your Phone app on Windows 10 has convinced me that it’s a good idea. There will always be bugs and the like, but hopefully more companies will continue to invest in this type of software.

More from The Verge

Qualcomm’s Latest Chips Could Make Noise Suppression Standard On New Wireless Headphones.

SpaceX makes its own hand sanitizer and builds face shields to donate to fight coronavirus.

Apple says customers must wait to recover repairs locked in its retail stores. Here is an idea that seems simple and easy to recommend because I am not Apple: why not offer loan devices to these people? I guess Apple could afford it! Like I said, probably more difficult and more expensive than I think, but it would fear being stuck without a computer. Maybe I particularly feel it because the N key on my MacBook Pro is about to die.

Things to do

Like everyone I am, I play a bunch of Animal crossing. If you, too, we have a great series of stories that are both useful and entertaining. If you want a complete guide, Polygon is quite comprehensive. I also play Shadow of the Tomb Raider and it’s kind of an overwhelming and overwhelming card collecting game.

If you’re looking for something to play, my advice is to check out our best games of 2020. Our team keeps this page up to date throughout the year. Bookmark it!

How to watch movies with friends online. Aliya Chaudhry reviews all the main options. There are many, and some of them work with multiple video services.

Fox to Broadcast NASCAR Replacement Simulation Race “Season” on TV. Sean O’Kane is going to get me into NASCAR, right? I went to a NASCAR race and enjoyed it very much, but I can’t afford to keep track of so many things. But it sounds cheerful and fun.

One of the reasons the motorsport world has been able to quickly flip this switch to sim racing is that there has been a thriving community competing on these platforms for years. Sim racing has become so widespread that many professional pilots already have a deep understanding of the tastes of iRacing. Most have sim racing platforms – a giant, often wraparound seat, steering wheel, pedals, and monitors – set up at home, or at the very least, at their team headquarters.

CBS All Access offers a free one-month trial, just in time to boast of Star Trek: Picard.

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