The Huawei Mate 30 launch has not gone well due to political issues beyond Huawei's control. The phone launched on Thursday, as expected it launched without any form of Google Apps, which is how it normally launches in China. However, Huawei is now forced to release this version of the phone to the rest of the world. Currently, we don't know an exact release date or if it will ever come to the UK. Huawei only gave EU pricing of 799-Euros for the Mate 30, 1099-Euros for the Mate 30 Pro and 1199-Euros for the 5G model.
One slither of hope came out during the private interviews with Richard Yu, where he stated that the new phones will come with an unlocked bootloader.
We limited [bootloader unlocking] because we wanted to guarantee more security for consumers. But this time we will leave more freedom for the consumers so they can do more customization by themselves. So we are planning to let consumers do that.Richard Yu
While Richard is obviously not going to promote the installation of the Google Apps, the above statement was quite clear without saying such a thing.
Unfortunately, this now appears to be inaccurate. A Huawei spokesperson has reached out to Android Authority to clarify comments made by Richard Yu at the Mate 30 series launch, now stating that Huawei has “no plans” to unlock the bootloader on Mate 30 series devices.
While a locked bootloader won't stop you sideloading apps it will cause issues with Google Play Services which in turn will break many Google apps and potentially cause problems with many others.
Since last year, Google Play Services will check the CTS certification and if the device has not passed it will not be possible to sign in to Google if you sideload Gapps.
This issue would obviously affect the Mate 30 regardless of the bootloader status, but with an unlocked bootloader, there are workarounds to this, though. Magisk is able to trick the Play Store's device certification, which has long been required to install Netflix. Magisk, however, requires a custom recovery such as TWRP to work.
Unlocking the bootloader would have been an excellent option for the Mate 30, and it would have made sense. Richard Yu is not exactly stupid, so I doubt he didn't understand what he was saying when he said it was unlocked, so I wonder if Huawei is having to backtrack to avoid ruffling any Google feathers.
From my limited understanding of TWRP and custom ROMs, there have been cases where people have managed to bypass manufacture locked bootloaders. It is possible some modder will conveniently find an easy way to bypass these issues, but for now, we are just going to have to wait and see how this whole scenario plays out.
If I do ever manage to get hold of a review device, I think I will try and live without Google for a week or so, and see how feasible it is without Gapps. I am quite heavily invested in Google, my email is Gmail but any client can handle that. Maps and Photos can potentially be replaced, though I would still want some way to archive photos to Google, just because I have so many years worth of photos on there. Similarily I use Google Drive, but I could get by via the web interface whenever I need a file.