Huawei P40 Lite
  • The Huawei P40 lite launched in South Africa on the 18th of May and is the second Huawei smartphone to launch in the country with the new Huawei Mobile Services.
  • With the ongoing US-China trade war, many users are still unsure how new Huawei devices will differ from older ones that ran on Google Mobile Services.
  • Many apps that are popular in SA like Takealot, Showmax, Zapper, Snapscan, Mango, Makro and TikTok are already available on Huawei’s AppGallery.


The Huawei P40 lite launched in South Africa on the 18th of May and is only the second Huawei smartphone to launch on our home turf with a new ecosystem: Huawei Mobile Services (HMS).

Contrary to what many people think, HMS has been in the pipeline for years, but Huawei relaunched and expanded the platform following the US trade ban in 2019. Where one door closed, another opened that lead them to seek an alternative to Google Mobile Services (GMS).

Although the Chinese tech giant admits that they still have a lot of room to improve their HMS offering, they are proud at the progress they have made. Considering it took Google and Apple more than a decade to create their respective ecosystems, Huawei has done an impressive job to get HMS off the ground in less than a year.

Here are 9 questions Huawei users asked about the new ecosystem and its capabilities.

1. What is HMS?

Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) is a whole new ecosystem of applications and services for Huawei devices.  With HMS, Huawei aims to do for its own ecosystem what Apple does for theirs and Google does for the mainstream Android ecosystem. HMS offers services like Huawei ID, Huawei Cloud, Huawei Assistant, Huawei Video, MeeTime and Huawei AppGallery.

2. What is AppGallery?

The biggest difference that exists between HMS and GMS is how you download apps on your phone. AppGallery is Huawei’s official app distribution platform and is the most significant offering in the HMS ecosystem. Since its global launch in April 2018, AppGallery has been serving more than 400 million global monthly active users in more than 170 countries and regions.

3. Which Huawei devices come with HMS?

In South Africa, the Huawei Y7p and the Huawei P40 lite are the only two devices to date that have and will launch with HMS. Globally, HMS launched with the Huawei Mate 30 Series in 2019 and rolled out with all the smartphone ranges that followed.

4. What apps are on AppGallery?

There are more than 4500 apps on AppGallery. Popular international apps that are already on AppGallery include Deezer, Lufthansa, TikTok, Tinder, AA, JD Sports, Zapper, Snapscan, Adidas, Booking.com, Viber and Opera. South African companies like Takealot, Showmax, DSTV, Mango, Travelstart, Makro, Absa and Standard Bank all have apps on the store too.

5. Can I whatsapp on a new Huawei?

Yes, you can! Although Whatsapp is not available in the AppGallery yet, it's quite easy to install it to your HMS phone. All you do is search for “Whatsapp official link” in the AppGallery and it will link you to the official WhatsApp website where you can download the app.

6. Is my Huawei still an Android device?

Both Huawei Mobile Services and Google Mobile Services run on top of the Android operating system and allow you to use Android apps. Essentially, your Huawei is still an Android at heart with a new face.

7. Do I need a VPN to use a new Huawei?

You do not need to use a virtual private network (VPN) on new Huawei devices. In some countries, VPN’s are used to access apps that are blocked in that country, but this will not help you bypass any limitations on HMS.

8. How do I navigate through HMS?

For many Android users, Google Maps have become a compass to navigate through everyday life. Luckily, the long-awaited Google Maps alternative for Huawei phones finally launched this year. The app is called Here WeGo and is available on AppGallery. It still needs some fine-tuning in South Africa though.

9. How can I move data and apps from my old Huawei device to a new Huawei Device?

The Huawei Phone Clone App allows you to quickly and effortlessly transfer all your beloved photos, videos, contacts and other files from your old device to your new one. Whether you’re an iOS or Android user, Huawei Phone Clone is compatible with your phone regardless of the brand. Additionally, you simply need to scan a QR code and put your two devices next to each other for the transfer to begin – no strings attached.

This post was sponsored by Huawei and produced by BrandStudio24.