Huawei Says Its Home-made Android And Windows Replacements Will Be Ready By The End Of This Year


Huawei has been effectively barred from using Android in the long-term following a recent US trade clampdown

Written By Saurabh Singh | Mumbai | Updated On:

Huawei’s home-made answer to Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows operating systems will be ready soon and the company will be ready to deploy them in China by autumn this year in the worst-case scenario. Their international counterparts will be ready for rollout by Q1 or Q2 of 2020, Huawei’s head of consumer business Richard Yu said in an interview with CNBC

"Today, Huawei, we are still committed to Microsoft Windows and Google Android," Yu told CNBC. "But if we cannot use that, Huawei will prepare the plan B to use our own OS." 

Not a lot is known about Huawei’s alternate takes on Android and Windows, but a recent report suggested that the platform(s) was currently on trial in China – Huawei's Android replacement is reportedly called HongMeng. 

“We don’t want to do this but we will forced to do that because of the U.S. government. I think the US, this kind of thing, will also not only be bad news for us, but also bad news for the US companies because we support the US business, so we will be forced to do this on our own. We don’t want to do this but we have no other solution, no other choice.” 

Building an alternative to Android (or Windows) won’t be easy, but Huawei may pull this off – the real challenge will be to convince developers to build apps for it. Huawei may not have to deal with the same problems in China because Google is literally absent from the market, even though most Chinese ROMs are built on top of Android. But getting international users on-board will be easier said than done – Android is the world’s largest operating system (in terms of user base), powering more devices than one can imagine, for a reason. 

Huawei has been in the thick of things lately. The Chinese conglomerate has been effectively barred from using Android in the long-term following a recent US trade clampdown. Even though Android is open source and even though Huawei is free to use this open source version of Android (called AOSP), Google has been gradually moving OS essentials out – which means a large part of the Android that we use now isn’t open source per se. This includes everything from the Google Play Store to apps like Google Maps and Gmail. Without proper authorization from Google, Huawei can’t even update its existing Android devices with latest security patches. And Google can’t authorize that until it gets a go-ahead from the US government. 

Although the Trump administration has given a 90-day reprieve to Huawei to sort of ease into things (so it could possibly ensure existing devices aren’t affected), the future of Huawei hardware (Android or otherwise) seems rather dark for now – which is why, it has a ‘plan B’ in place to build its own operating system. Just in case. 

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