How to add an Android app to Huawei App Gallery?

11 October 2022
Paweł Ługowski
Paweł Ługowski
Android Developer
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Contents

  • Intro

If you want to strengthen your position in the mobile app market, introducing your product to the Huawei App Gallery might be a wise choice. The Huawei marketplace is constantly growing and is said to be a prospective competition for such giants as App Store and Google Play any time soon. Given that the App Gallery is a global app store accessible in more than 170 nations, you may reach more prospective users by releasing your app there.

Making sure that your product is sufficiently accessible to all clients is essential for the prosperity of your business. Greater availability of your application might boost traffic and, as a result, increase your sales. Therefore, releasing your app in other marketplaces, like Huawei App Gallery, might be a suitable strategy to expand the market coverage and rise the number of visitors.

But the question remains, how can you release your app on the AppGallery without investing an excessive amount of time and resources in building it anew? The operating system turns out to be a crucial factor here. Launching an Android app in the App Gallery should not constitute any difficulty, as Huawei devices run either on Android or HarmonyOS based on the same source code.

So if you want to find out how to add an Android app to the Huawei App Gallery, you have come to the right place. We will provide you with a comprehensive guide concerning the whole process and other crucial information you should consider before doing so.

Huawei Mobile Services and HarmonyOS

In May 2019, the China-United States trade war made it impossible for Huawei to use Google services on their new smartphones. So, the company wanted to comprise this loss and started selling devices supplied with its exclusive Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) instead of GMS.

By introducing HMS, Huawei intended to provide users and developers with the same services as those available in the Android environment. Hence, the company introduced HMS Core which includes App Gallery, Huawei ID, Cloud, Themes, Huawei Video, Browser, and Assistant meant to substitute Google products. Although these applications are quite functional, it is not an easy task to substitute for well-known and fully-featured GMS services such as Google Maps or YouTube.

The switch from GMS to HMS led to another significant change in the Huawei brand, as the company decided to develop its own operating system – HarmonyOS. Since 2021, all new smartphones and tablets run on HarmonyOS with access to the App Gallery, which comes with pre-installed Harmony Apps and Android apps compatible with Huawei’s system.

Although Huawei’s mobile market share (6%) may seem insignificant in comparison to other big players, including Samsung (29%), Apple (28%), and Xiaomi (13%), the statistics for the App Gallery are quite impressive. According to Statista’s reports, in 2020 Huawei App Gallery noted about 384 billion app installs and updates. In the same year, the app marketplace reported 2.3 million registered app developers.

Companies not only choose to integrate their applications with Huawei App Gallery but also develop brand-new products for the platform. What makes them take this step? Let’s find out!

Why is it good for a business to be in Huawei App Gallery?

Huawei puts a lot of effort to develop its mobile services and provide users with the best functionalities. As claimed by Wang Yanmin, the President of Global Partnerships and Eco-Development at Huawei, the company intends to constantly develop its ecosystem in compliance with clients’ feedback to ensure stable growth and expansion of their businesses. 

Here are some of the features Huawei App Gallery offers that make this marketplace worth considering for your business.

why is it good for a business to be in Huawei App Gallery

Fast-growing environment

Since the implementation of HMS into Huawei’s devices, App Gallery has been escalating quickly. As reported by Statista, the number of monthly active users has increased from 300 million in 2019 to 530 million in the first quarter of 2021. This implies that Google Play and App Store, the world’s leading players in the mobile app distribution market, may soon face real competition from App Gallery, especially in China and Asian markets. 

The company asserts that the number of developers and end-users is still growing as a result of the investments made in the development of the store. Therefore, publishing your application in Huawei’s marketplace may boost its exposure and the possibility of reaching your target audience in the long run.

Secure marketplace 

AppGallery makes use of Huawei’s hardware and software capabilities to protect the privacy of both users and developers. Huawei encrypts personal information and stores it in compliance with regional laws, which prevents it from leakage. But this element is rather basic and required in all marketplaces, especially in reference to App Store’s strict guidelines on iOS mobile app development.

Yet, App Gallery took a step forward and incorporated a dedicated security system. It includes verification of the developer’s name to trace them in case of some unexpected difficulties. Additionally, the marketplace introduced a four-step review process, involving screening, monitoring, certification, and re-inspection of the newly launched app to ensure it is free of malware.

Such an intricate verification procedure guarantees that applications available in App Gallery are quality-assured, which builds trust for the brand. More active users in the marketplace may increase your app’s downloads and, consequently, raise your profits.

‘Glocal’ approach

In order to provide users with the most relevant applications, AppGallery has adopted the ‘glocal’ approach. In other words, the company focuses on partnering with developers both locally and globally, bringing customers a wider selection of apps adjusted to their needs.

The system suggests appropriate applications based on the user’s location. With the help of this function, the user can quickly choose the best option without wasting time sifting through a plethora of unrelated apps, and the developer may easily reach a customer who could be interested in their product. A win-win situation.

AppGallery Connect

Huawei provides developers with AppGallery Connect, a tool kit of all services necessary for the creation of an app or its adjustment, including innovation, development, distribution, maintenance, and analysis.

The platform allows devs to build apps, improve their quality with APM or Cloud Testing, adjust their functionality by conducting, for instance, Sandbox Testing, and perform analysis using analytical tools. And that’s not all. App Gallery Connect offers a number of other features that might be useful in the development process.

Thanks to the services available on the platform, you can spruce up your app and improve its performance, which may increase its value and the number of prospective users.

How to adjust your Android app to HarmonyOS?

Adding your application to the App Gallery is one thing, but there are several steps that you need to take before starting the procedure. Fortunately, these do not include designing the whole app from the ground up, but you need to modernize certain elements to make your Android app run smoothly on Huawei devices.

Since Huawei launched its own operating system, businesses that wish to reach Huawei users should develop HarmonyOS-compatible versions of their products. The work with Android apps will be simplified, as the Huawei operating system is based on AOSP. It means that, for instance, UI code should run properly even on devices with HarmonyOS. However, components of applications developed using certain Firebase services may cause problems.

Firebase is a platform created by Google that enables devs to monitor the application, send notification messages, and track the progress of updates. It is also frequently used in building MVP apps. However, the platform is based on Google Mobile Services, which are no longer available on Huawei’s devices. Firebase features that might not run correctly in HarmonyOS devices include, for instance, App Check SafetyNet provider, Firebase ML Vision, or Firebase ML Custom Model.

While these Firebase functionalities may not be available in HMS and should be substituted by third-party counterparts, many other features can be successfully replaced with services provided by Huawei in App Gallery Connect. This platform serves as an alternative to Firebase and incorporates almost the same features. For instance, the Huawei Crash service has a similar function as Google’s Crashlytics, the same with Authentication and Auth Service, Cloud Messaging and Push Kit, Dynamic Link and App Linking, and many more. 

Thus, integrating HMS in place of GMS services should be sufficient for your application to work on Huawei smartphones and tablets without any crashing. However, you should know which Google Services were implemented in your app to be able to find their Huawei counterparts. Once you have started the project in App Gallery Connect, you should be able to manage APIs and integrate SDK for every feature in your app.

The HarmonyOS development environment

Yet, it’s also important to recognize that HarmonyOS is more than a mere adaptation of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). While HarmonyOS does share certain similarities with AOSP, it has evolved into an independent ecosystem with unique features. Central to this ecosystem is the HarmonyOS Application Framework, encapsulated within the HAP.app structure. This framework equips developers with tools tailored to the HarmonyOS environment, facilitating the creation of applications that seamlessly leverage the OS’s capabilities.

HAP.app and DevEco Studio IDE

To offer a more accurate perspective on the development process, let’s explore the HarmonyOS-specific tools available to developers. The DevEco Studio IDE assumes a pivotal role in this ecosystem. This integrated development environment offers an array of features designed to simplify the creation, testing, and optimization of HarmonyOS applications. It provides a platform for developers to effectively harness the potential of the HarmonyOS Application Framework.

Migrating from GMS to HMS

When considering the transition from Google Mobile Services (GMS) to Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), it’s important to note that the process goes beyond mere porting of Android apps. It involves understanding and making use of the specific tools, services, and frameworks that HarmonyOS offers. This includes recognizing the significance of HAP.app and the capabilities of the DevEco Studio IDE in enabling seamless migration and effective app development.

Adding an app to App Gallery

Launching an application in the Huawei app marketplace may seem complicated at first. Still, the procedure is quite intuitive, especially for those who have already uploaded applications to Google Play. If you are looking for some guidelines on how to do it properly, follow our step-by-step instructions provided below.

adding an app to App Gallery

Register your profile

Before you can modernize and then add your app to App Gallery, you should first sign in to the service through the HUAWEI Developers platform and verify your identity with relevant documents.

Create a project

If you wish to apply App Gallery services to your application, you must first create a project. In order to do so, go to My projects and click Add project. Write the title of the project and choose Add app. Now, set the necessary parameters of your app, namely platform, device, app name, package name, app category, and default language.

Modernize your app

Once you have filled out the appropriate forms, you can proceed to the development part. Go to the Manage APIs tab and enable the services you want to integrate.

Such services as Auth Service, Crash, Cloud Functions, Cloud DB, Remote Configuration, App Linking, Cloud Storage, APM, or App Messaging, require SDKs integration into your development environment.

If you developed your application in Android Studio, you should upload a JSON file to App Gallery. To add a configuration file go to My projects and select your app. Proceed to Project settings, enter the General information tab, and insert the agconnect-services.json. file there. Then add the file to the module directory in Android Studio.

Also, remember to configure these SDK addresses in your IDE. This step involves setting the Maven repository address and adding the App Gallery Connect plugin to Android Studio. Detailed instructions on how to implement those changes are available in the Guides section on the App Gallery Connect website.

Having performed all of the abovementioned steps, you can incorporate any suitable modifications to your app with the use of services available in App Gallery Connect.

Test 

After adjusting particular components of your application to the Huawei environment, you should check whether it works correctly. App Gallery Connect provides a variety of test services you can employ to facilitate the verification procedure and ensure the best User Experience. 

Cloud Testing

This service allows you to test the performance, stability, and security of your application. In addition, Cloud Testing verifies your app’s compatibility to guarantee that it runs smoothly on a range of Huawei mobile devices.

Cloud Debugging

To ensure your app is free of bugs and errors, use Cloud Debugging. This service enables you to debug your software, testing it on various devices to discover and resolve problematic issues.

Open Testing

In order to test your application before the official launch in the App Gallery, you can make it available to qualified test users that will give you feedback on the elements that still need improvement.

Integration Check

You can verify whether your app package is properly integrated through Integration Check. Based on the report, you can implement necessary changes prior to the review process, which may speed up the release of your product.

Sandbox Testing

In Sandbox Testing, a simulated environment for your application is created to mimic the real User Experience. You may use this test to see if your application’s functionalities are running properly.

A/B Testing

You may test your product’s User Interface by developing two or more versions of your app and distributing them to different audiences. That way, you will be able to perform notification or app messaging experiments and find out what is the key to the success of your app. Yet, this seems to be optional, since you have already published your product in Google Play and probably conducted such a test before release.

Release 

Once updated and tested, your application is ready to be released. Yet, before it happens, you should provide crucial information concerning its specifications. In the Release App section, you will find the App Information tab. When you provide a brief introduction and details on compatible devices, as well as upload the app icon and app screenshots, you can proceed to Version information to decide on the regions you want to release your app in. Then mark whether you choose to publish the app for open testing or formal release.

Now, go to Manage packages to upload your APK and submit it for review. If the evaluation process reveals that the app fits the marketplace’s standards, it is approved for distribution.

Maintain 

After launching your product in the Huawei marketplace, you are able to maintain it, including updating its details or version, or transferring it to another account if needed. You can also view the data concerning your application’s usage in the App analytics section. Analytical tools will provide you with detailed reports on downloads and installs of your application to give you an overview of its performance. Such data may help you decide what actions you should take to improve the functionality and profitability of your product.

A fine alternative for high-profile app marketplaces

Entering new markets is incredibly important for the prosperity of a business. Not only does it improve the visibility of a product, but it also increases the chances of reaching the target audience. Although Huawei’s market share worldwide remains smaller than Apple or Google, the company is gathering steam to become real competition for these two. 

Therefore, adding an app to App Gallery might be a smart move that will bring you a lot of profit. Especially if we take into account that there is no need to develop a separate version of the software. All you need to do is adjust your already existing application to HarmonyOS with the tools provided by Huawei in App Gallery Connect, which is far less demanding than creating it from scratch. Thus, the time required for the operation and the amount of money spent on the process are relatively minor in relation to the prospective gains.

We hope that the instructions provided in this article will facilitate the whole process. If you need assistance with your Android app or any other aspect of mobile development, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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