Huawei has hurried to expand its native app store but one of the latest additions to the App Gallery also ushers in the adoption of third-party app support on its smartwatches for the first time (outside of China, at least).
Up until this point, one of the underlying weaknesses of Huawei's smartwatches has been their incompatibility with third-party apps and services. It's a sought after trait that's particularly useful for fitness-centric users who might want to synchronise the fitness data that their smartwatch records with their activity tracking app or service of choice.
The App Gallery itself has supported third-party apps from the beginning and with the company's troubles in the face of the US Entity List, it's working hard to bring experiences already popular on the Google Play Store to its own App Gallery, which nowadays includes the likes of TikTok, Snapchat, ExpressVPN and Microsoft Office.
It's fitness app Fitify that makes its debut as the first third-party app to run on a Huawei smartwatch. Fitify was already available on both the Google Play and Apple App Stores, and in both cases offered wearable support for Wear OS and Apple Watches respectively, making it a good fit for Huawei's App Gallery and wearables too.
At release, Fitify is only supported by the company's latest Lite OS-powered smartwatch - the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro - which arrived in September, last year.
There's no word yet on whether third-party app support will also extend to other members of Huawei's Watch GT 2 line or indeed other devices in Huawei's wearable catalogue (or in the case of Honor, devices released before its split from Huawei).
One of the biggest unknowns in introducing third-party app support - aside from which other developers are likely to make use of this new avenue of distribution - is how they might affect the GT 2 Pro's battery life.
Like all of Huawei's Lite OS smartwatches, the GT 2 Pro delivers impressive longevity for what is a fully-featured, sensor-packed smartwatch. In our review, it lasted two days short of Huawei's quoted 14-day-life-per-charge, but that still trumps anything that the average Wear OS or WatchOS-powered timepiece can deliver.
Allowing third-parties to run on-watch apps that make use of the GT 2 Pro's various sensors, not to mention push and pull data to and from a connected smartphone, will undoubtedly expand the wearable's functionality but will also place an undefined toll on the Pro's battery life; how severe that toll will be will depends on the app, the use case and the ruleset Huawei defines for power management where third-party services are concerned.