Huawei is currently second to Samsung in the smartphone market globally and no. 1 smartphone brand in China.
The Chinese tech giant Huawei confirmed it has developed its own operating system that could replace Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows should it be barred from using American-made products.
Huawei executive Richard Yu shared in a recent interview with Die Welt. He said “We have prepared our own operating system. If it turns out we can no longer use these systems, we will be ready and have our plan B,”
Although, Hiawei currently uses the Google-developed Android mobile operating system for its handsets and Microsoft’s Windows for its laptops and tablets.
Huawei began working on an Android replacement as early as 2012 when the US opened an investigation into Huawei and ZTE, according to the South China Morning Post, and it was still developing the system in 2016.
Huawei Plan B
The announcement of its “plan B” operating system comes at a time when Huawei is ensnared in an ongoing legal battle with the US, which could result in the company being banned from receiving exports from the US. If it comes to that, Huawei says it will be ready.
Even though this is now the official confirmation, this is not the first time we’re hearing reports of Huawei’s proprietary operating system. However, this report show that the company is in there own way very prepared for “worst case scenarios”.
Yu’s comments were confirmed by a Huawei spokesperson on Friday who said the back-up systems would only be used in “extenuating circumstances” and were “there for basic business continuity in a worst-case scenario.”
He expressed the company’s ground on this saying “We don’t expect to use them and to be honest, we don’t want to use them. We fully support our partners’ operating system, we love using them and our customers love using them,” the spokesperson said.
The technology company must have made this preparation in order not to be shocked off its feet by the US government like ZTE a rival Chinese firm.
The U.S. government banned American firms from selling parts and software to ZTE because the Chinese company violated sanctions on Iran and North Korea.Hence, its ability to use Google’s Android was under threat.
Building of a new whole operating system will be a great addition to the company’s business and achievement. However, a new operating system (OS) could provide some problems for Huawei. Particularly, if it is forced to stop using Microsoft and Google software outside of China.
Inside its home market, Google services are blocked, including the Play Store. But internationally, Google’s app store is available.
“For Huawei, almost half of its smartphone sales come from China. So 50 percent of the business is anyways secured as Google mobile services the Play Store is non-existent in China. However, having no access to Google Android and Play Store could affect the other half of the business quite a bit in the near-to-mid-term,” Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research commented.
“What Huawei has up its sleeves as an Android and Play Store alternative is not proven. Though it could have a capability of running third party Android app stores which could alleviate some concerns from the developers and apps perspective. However, users which are fully immersed into Google services might start comparing the two OS. Hence any slight change could be viewed has failure, until (it has been) proven to run services and a user experience as good as Google’s,” Shah added..
The Political Pressure
Huawei has faced intense political pressure from the U.S. which has alleged its networking equipment may contain back doors that could be used by the Chinese government for espionage. The company has repeatedly denied the claims. However, references where made towards China’s national security laws which allegedly mean every domestic company is legally obliged to help the government with intelligence gathering.
Huawei has been face with a lot of alleges for some months now. However,
While the pressure from governments has focused on it’s networking equipment.
Although, Huawei smartphones have been absent from the U.S. market for several years, but it has enjoyed success around the rest of the world. Last year, it overtook Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone maker by market share just behind Samsung.
The fact that Huawei makes the Kirin processors found in most of its smartphones confirms its capability to make the OS. However, even though it says the OS replacement is ready, what about its computers?.
Huawei would need to find new hardware partners since it relies on Intel processors in its Windows laptops. With Intel and Qualcomm off the table and MediaTek processors generally reserved for cheaper, low-performance devices like Chromebooks, Huawei may need to start developing its own laptop-grade processors.