May has been a tough month for Huawei as it has been put in the crosshairs of an escalating trade war and national security issue between the US and China.
Under the guise of national security, the US has called upon US-based companies to end ties with Huawei and in doing so Google is cutting ties and ending a licensing deal for the smartphone operating system Android to Huawei for its devices. Since the ban was first announced earlier this month, the China-based company Huawei has had to scramble for an alternate software kit to load onto its handsets.
Fortunately, the company seems prepared and could be rolling out HongMeng, a home-spun smartphone operating system that would effectively replace Google’s Android.
Huawei has been a national security scapegoat for the US for some time and with that knowledge, the company has been preparing a reality in which it might need to have an alternative to Google’s Android.
To that end, Huawei isn’t the only Android smartphone maker to craft a ‘Plan B’ smartphone operating system as Samsung has been actively testing its Tieszen operating system and encouraging developers to test those waters as it continues to pump out record numbers of Android-powered smartphones.
While Huawei may be predominately known for its premium smartphone hardware, the proposed ban against the company extends into more of its businesses where it will lose partners in computer technology, chipset makers, Bluetooth, WiFi, and SD technologies as well.
HongMeng or Ark OS looks to mitigate some of those partner losses with flexibility and covering tablets, smartwatches, IoT, mobile phones and computers.
Similar to projects from Microsoft and Google, which are both looking for converging operating system, it seems Huawei may be the first to bring their vision to market as Ark OS looks to be hitting devices as early as next month.
Huawei’s confidence in Ark OS is evident by some other boastful claims of the company’s relative independence in the market and that the trade war/security claims from the US will do little to hamper its business growth. Based on an interview with TechRadar, Alaa Elshimy, Managing Director and VP of Huawei Enterprise Business Group Middle East, believes the company’s unique industry position has aligned rather well for its current situation.
“The US sanctions won’t affect the company’s operating system and the chipsets in any way as we are self-reliant in many aspects. We have all the chipsets except the Intel chips for PCs and servers. Every single storage player in the market is using Qualcomm chipset and we are the only one using our own chipset. That is why we can go at the speed we want” Elshimy added.”
While Elshimy remains confident in Huawei’s ability to leap over current restrictions in place and come out the other side rather unscathed, the reality remains that without the Google Play Store, access to Microsoft Office or Windows, or even future WiFi consortium technologies, Huawei will be in a bind as their audience presumably transitions through its new self-reliant push.Further reading: Android, ArkOS, Google, Huawei, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Tizen, Windows