The fact that under-fire Huawei is developing its own alternative to the Android smartphone OS is in itself no longer news. With Google suspending future support for Android software and services, the Shenzhen manufacturer needs a stable software foundation on which to base its future smartphones. The new “operating system, to be named ‘HongMeng OS’ in China or ‘Oak OS’ in overseas markets, is likely to be launched in August or September,” reported China’s Global Times, citing sources. If correct, the timing suggests the new OS would launch alongside Huawei’s new Mate 30 series of phones.
Certainly, a number of Huawei and Android analysts are calling the timing. That said, there is serious development work and testing still to be done, and an entire app ecosystem to port across. In China where Google services are blocked, Huawei already uses the open-source version of Android. This limits security updates and prompted Google to warn the U.S. government of national security risks, asking for the blacklist to exempt Android. Of course, the open-source OS also cuts Google off from the consumer data that drives its advertising machine – another reason why the world’s second largest smartphone maker cutting OS ties carries a heavy cost. It is possible that the Mate 30 with the new OS onboard could hit China only to start, with separate arrangements for. overseas markets to start with.
Android compatibility is clearly a key requirement for Huawei, primarily to support a ready-made app ecosystem. The company is reaching out to the developer community, pointing out the more than 350 million devices shipped in the last two years and the 270 million monthly active users on its AppGallery. The message is that “in order to guarantee a smooth usage of your App for our users, Huawei is committed to providing you with full support, to help you publish your App into AppGallery… it is an invitation to join “our 560k developer’ community for free, in our Huawei Developer portal.”
The impact of an app strategy misstep was hammered home by Facebook announcing it would prohibit preinstalled apps on new Huawei devices. Huawei is now fielding support calls from users concerned that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram will cease to function. Huawei told Android Authority that the company wants “to ensure consumers know that this has no impact on existing devices, and future devices will still be able to download, install, and use Facebook apps without any issue on Huawei devices.”Paragraph
On June 11, the South China Morning Post, citing unnamed sources, provided some insight into the journey Huawei’s new OS has taken, starting in 2012 when “in a villa facing a lake in Shenzhen, a small group of top Huawei Technologies executives headed by founder Ren Zhengfei held a closed-door meeting that lasted for several days… The group agreed that Huawei should build a proprietary OS as a potential alternative to Android… This meeting was later called the ‘lakeside talks’ internally and access to documents relating to the gathering became highly restricted last year.”
Can you imagine what the founder of huawei is saying about this?
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