Huawei working on Android operating system rival
Yes, you read that headline correctly. But why on earth would Huawei attempt to take on the giant operating system?
Well, it turns out the reason could have its basis on the trouble it’s having with America.
The latest bit of bad news occurred last week when the Department of Justice reportedly began investigating the Chinese telecom and hardware giant for allegedly having violated the country’s sanctions against Iran. Not an ideal situation for Huawei.
Furthermore, this could end up with the company being barred from using American technology and services. This would include Qualcomm chipsets and Google’s suite of services and the Android platform. Yup, it would be a major blow.
However, the South China Morning Post noted that Huawei has a plan B in the works: its own OS.
Huawei is said to have been working on a alternative to Android and iOS since 2012. THis was triggered when rival phone maker, ZTE, was hit with an export ban. That was for illegally selling devices and telecom equipment to Iran and North Korea.
The OS is reportedly designed to work on phones, tablet, and also PCs. Presently it is still on the test bench as it still isn’t as capable as Android. Additionally, there is a lack of third-party apps and we know how critical that is.
Recalling the roll-call of previous operating systems that have been resigned to the ‘Where Are They Now?’ files it does seem crazy to build another. Microsoft’s Windows Phone couldn’t keep up, BlackBerry OS died out in 2016, and Samsung’s Tizen OS has failed to catch on. What is Huawei thinking?
Well, with the troubles Huawei has faced in bringing its products to the US in 2018 alone, it seems like having a backup plan does make sense. It’s still a huge ask, but makes sense.
As well as the Department of Justice investigation, the company lost out on a major carrier deal in January owing to pressure from Congress. This dampened the touchpaper of a deal that would have seen AT&T sell its phones nationwide. The following month, the heads of six American intelligence agencies warned consumers not to buy the company’s handsets. Their reasoning was that Huawei may steal users’ information, spy on them to benefit China, and gain a position of power in the country’s communications infrastructure. Naturally, they don’t mind Facebook and others grabbing your details 😉
The thing is, none of this has put Huawei off of the United States yet. Granted, it is a huge market so must be worth pursuing.
Earlier this month, in response to questions regarding moves in the US to restrict access to China-made smartphones and telecoms infrastructure due to security concerns, Erix Xu declined to comment. But he did say that its positioning in the US market has not changed, stating that
We’re focused on what we can do and providing better services to our customers.”
I am not sure if the best reason to float out a new operating system is because you might get barred from a particular market. However, as always in business, it is prudent to have a contingency plan.