Huawei working on internal OS to avoid 'the crutch of Android'

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2016
Huawei, the second largest Android phone maker in market share behind Samsung, is "secretly developing an alternative mobile operating system" in a bid to hedge its bets against Google's increasingly assertive control over Android.


Huawei P9 Plus


China's Huawei (pronounced "wah-way") is working to embellish its current Android "skin" appearance the on phones it sells to appear less like a copy of iOS, but the company is also working on an OS of its own as a contingency measure, reported Amir Efrati of The Information.

The privately held Huawei recently surpassed Xiaomi and Lenovo to take the lead among Chinese phone producers. It reportedly shipped 108 million smartphones in 2015 and posted increases in both revenues and profits, although the report noted that Chinese firms' financials are "treated with skepticism among mobile executives in the West, who say it's too easy for such a private firm to fudge its numbers."

Those shipments are well below Apple's reported sales of 231 million iPhones in fiscal 2015, and the selling price of Huawei's phones are, like all Android vendors, much lower. However, Huawei is second among Android vendors with about 8 percent of global market share by unit volume, following only Samsung and its estimated shipments of 300 million phones last year.

While achieving high volume sales in China, Huawei has struggled to gain a footing in the US and other markets. Huawei "hasn't yet been able to strike a deal for a top U.S. wireless carrier to sell one of its flagship phones," the report noted. "That's probably because the U.S. government forbids those same carriers from using Huawei telecom equipment due to fears of Chinese government snooping."

The Information also noted that "the U.S. is reportedly looking into whether Huawei violated export rules by selling equipment in Iran, North Korea and other countries for which the U.S. restricts the sale of American-made components (some of which are in Huawei products)."

Apple's iOS is the envy of Android



Owning iOS has given Apple the ability to tightly integrate its hardware and software, enabling it to rapidly introduce new features and build support behind initiatives ranging from ApplePay to Continuity and HomeKit.

Samsung has struggled to develop its own OS software, initially serving as a licensee for Nokia's Symbian, then adopting Microsoft's Windows Mobile and toying with Linux, including the Bada and Tizen projects.

It has seen its greatest success with Android, which helped it to quickly create an iPhone copy it could bring to market, as the company noted in internal documents outed during Apple's lawsuit against Korean conglomerate. However, Samsung's relationship with Google has grown strained over a fight to control the platform.




Google's platform strategy around Android has also started to collapse. Following the ouster of its original founder, the company was taken over by the former head of Chrome OS. It has subsequently introduced high profile new initiatives--Chromecast and Home--that are driven by Chrome OS, not Android. It has also announced plans to port Android apps to run on Chrome OS and is reportedly seeking to combine the two into a future system that would likely serve Google's purposes rather than serving the needs of its licensees.

China's hardware makers want their own everything, just like Apple



To achieve the independence and flexibility that iOS gives Apple, Samsung has thrown support behind Tizen, a Linux distribution incorporating a native C runtime. The company has used Tizen to replace Android Wear on its flagship smartwatch offerings, but so far has only introduced Tizen smartphones (a prototype, below) in limited runs.


Samsung Tizen prototype


Observing the problems Samsung has had with Google, Huawei knows it must develop its own OS platform to avoid similar issues. Because Samsung's sales amount to more than half of Android's unit shipments, the idea of Samsung going solo with Tizen should ranklel remaining Android licensees, as that would likely greatly diminish the value of the platform.

Like Samsung, Huawei has also sought to copy Apple's vertical integration in the realm of Ax custom silicon. While most Android licenses have relied upon third party chip designers including Qualcomm and MediaTek, Samsung started customizing its own ARM Application Processor designs under its Exynos brand, and Huawei has developed its own internal Kirin 950 chip under its HiSilicon subsidiary.

Last fall, China's ZTE also announced plans to develop its own Linux-based mobile OS, as well as efforts to develop its own custom Application Processors.

Market analysts report a widely percolating set of numbers pertaining to unit market share among Android smartphone makers, but have yet contributed little insight into why so many Android licensees are working to copy Apple even closer than Android can allow them to by rolling their own mobile OS. They're clearly not content in sharing a basic slice of the communal market share credited to Android.
patchythepirate
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    I really like that purplish colour
  • Reply 2 of 28
    So....

    like Tizen. 

    Ok...
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 3 of 28
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,291member
    This will result in a lot of mess. Notwithstanding the current Android fragmentation, developer have to deal with XXX OS, YYY OS, ZZZZ OS, let alone each OS subsequent updates. I can't even imagine the nightmare, say, Instagram developer have to deal with 10 different OS release. That if it was assumed each OS has equal market-share. Regardless, I don't see any of these will impact Apple in anyway as long as there is only 1 iOS.
  • Reply 4 of 28
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,823member
    The android makers are in a mess all of their own doing.  Just like the old cellular makers, everyone will have their own OS, nothing will work with each other, and then no one will buy their crap.

    Apple is in a very unique position to have the brand, the expertise, an the competency to do all of this and make a supreme killing off of it.  It's why the Samsungs, HTC's, and Huawei's of the world used Android.  They couldn't code a real mobile OS if their lives depended on it, but by using Android, they essentially gave Google the keys as well. 

    So what are they going to do?  Create their own App store?  Who's going to develop for it?  Who's going to maintain it?  They will not have the ability to stay current with changing technology and security so they are screwed either way.

    It's a mess.  I'm staying with the one ship that floats and keeps its course, and that is iOS.  Buh-bye.

    mac_dogericthehalfbeemacxpresspscooter63bdkennedy1002brucemclord amhrannolamacguycornchipjony0
  • Reply 5 of 28
    It will echosystem of five applications. The rest will be developed later...
  • Reply 6 of 28
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member
    Android is going the way of the European Union. The defections begin. 
    Dan_Dilger
  • Reply 7 of 28
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,190member
    If Samsung was able to pull this off (and Huawei) it would be a serious blow to the Android platform. It was never a good platform to begin with. It may take a while longer, but it may start to die a slow painful death. 
  • Reply 8 of 28
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    OS's are practically irrelevant to all but a few tech junkies.  It's apps that matter and they are the reason alternative OSes are all going to face a near insurmountable hurdle in gaining traction.
    cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 28
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,302member
    macxpress said:
    If Samsung was able to pull this off (and Huawei) it would be a serious blow to the Android platform. It was never a good platform to begin with. It may take a while longer, but it may start to die a slow painful death. 
    If Huawei uses Google apps for whatever OS they offer I doubt the folks in Mountain View will be too concerned. On top of that it will be a few years before anything changes anyway (if it does). Android was only developed to begin with to make sure Google wasn't severely handicapped on mobile, which Google took seriously as the future rather than desktop well before most other big techs. 
    jony0
  • Reply 10 of 28
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    This is just another sign that Android is failing. Samsung will single-handedly destroy Android, and all the other Android vendors except former Motorola/Google will go back to their own OS's.

    Android has always been a disaster for developers, developers hate it, Android is slow, lacks standards among devices, and generally nobody is making money on the platform. Samsung wants to try and clone Apple's eco system but can't because it doesn't control Android, and risks it's entire smartphone sales if it wholesale drops android. So Samsung is stuck.

    The Chinese companies have a small advantage right now, by dumping Android now, they can build their own "walled garden" without letting the Korean phone makers in.
  • Reply 11 of 28
    gatorguy said:
    macxpress said:
    If Samsung was able to pull this off (and Huawei) it would be a serious blow to the Android platform. It was never a good platform to begin with. It may take a while longer, but it may start to die a slow painful death. 
    If Huawei uses Google apps for whatever OS they offer I doubt the folks in Mountain View will be too concerned. On top of that it will be a few years before anything changes anyway (if it does). Android was only developed to begin with to make sure Google wasn't severely handicapped on mobile, which Google took seriously as the future rather than desktop well before most other big techs. 

    I think Huawei wants nothing to do with Android, like Samsung. I don't blame them. Android has turned into the most boring Mobile OS in the world. 
  • Reply 12 of 28
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
  • Reply 13 of 28
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    misa said:
    This is just another sign that Android is failing. Samsung will single-handedly destroy Android, and all the other Android vendors except former Motorola/Google will go back to their own OS's.

    Android has always been a disaster for developers, developers hate it, Android is slow, lacks standards among devices, and generally nobody is making money on the platform. Samsung wants to try and clone Apple's eco system but can't because it doesn't control Android, and risks it's entire smartphone sales if it wholesale drops android. So Samsung is stuck.

    The Chinese companies have a small advantage right now, by dumping Android now, they can build their own "walled garden" without letting the Korean phone makers in.
    You are such a laugh.  Android failing? - no it isn't; it is gaining marketshare, quarter on quarter.  85% is world domination, not failure.
    edited June 2016 lord amhrangatorguy
  • Reply 14 of 28
    IronheadIronhead Posts: 22member
    cnocbui said:
    misa said:
    This is just another sign that Android is failing. Samsung will single-handedly destroy Android, and all the other Android vendors except former Motorola/Google will go back to their own OS's.

    Android has always been a disaster for developers, developers hate it, Android is slow, lacks standards among devices, and generally nobody is making money on the platform. Samsung wants to try and clone Apple's eco system but can't because it doesn't control Android, and risks it's entire smartphone sales if it wholesale drops android. So Samsung is stuck.

    The Chinese companies have a small advantage right now, by dumping Android now, they can build their own "walled garden" without letting the Korean phone makers in.
    You are such a laugh.  Android failing? - no it isn't; it is gaining marketshare, quarter on quarter.  85% is world domination, not failure.
    Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances. 
    ai46mejsricronncali
  • Reply 15 of 28
    croprcropr Posts: 1,053member
    The chances that Huawei will succeed in capturing 1 % with its own OS is around 0%.  Can you give me one Android user who would prefer the OS from Huawei iso a plain Android?
    ronn
  • Reply 16 of 28
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    cnocbui said:
    misa said:
    This is just another sign that Android is failing. Samsung will single-handedly destroy Android, and all the other Android vendors except former Motorola/Google will go back to their own OS's.

    Android has always been a disaster for developers, developers hate it, Android is slow, lacks standards among devices, and generally nobody is making money on the platform. Samsung wants to try and clone Apple's eco system but can't because it doesn't control Android, and risks it's entire smartphone sales if it wholesale drops android. So Samsung is stuck.

    The Chinese companies have a small advantage right now, by dumping Android now, they can build their own "walled garden" without letting the Korean phone makers in.
    You are such a laugh.  Android failing? - no it isn't; it is gaining marketshare, quarter on quarter.  85% is world domination, not failure.
    not if companies don't make money from it. then its a failure. profit is the oxygen corporations breathe. anything else is fandroid chest-thumping.
    patchythepirateronncali
  • Reply 17 of 28
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,022member
    I worked with a guy who did some consulting work with Huawei back in the early 2000's just as they were becoming big in Networking equipment and here was his observations about them and how they do business.  He said they ran a 24/7 R&D operations, they have thousands of engineers with BS, MS and PHD in various engineering disciplines working around the clock reverse engineering every single competitors networking product including the company I was working for at the time. He said at the time they had successfully knocked off all of the Cisco products. They were much less successful with our product due to our designs and software, thus the reason they hire this guy as consultant. This is government run and financed company this is the only way they can afford to do what they do. The reason their network product are barred from use in the US is because back doors were found in their products when they first came to market, Since then the US government will not allow any company in the US to use their products.
    cnocbuipatchythepirate
  • Reply 18 of 28
    gprovidagprovida Posts: 252member
    Several forces are at work pushing Android makers to their own OS. 

    1.  In China, I suspect the Government is encouraging creation of Chinese OSes for competitive and political reasons. A lot more could be written here. 
    2.  Profits require moving beyond commodity. Simply put Apple has sucked all the profit air out of the smart phone market. 
    3.  If they want to get beyond China in sales there is a huge IP challenge that Chinese clone makers. Just address, this affords them some potential IP independence. 
    4.  In the long run, developing Services etc., are essential to creating an environment that keeps customers and creates new revenue streams. 
    5.  Agility for innovation versus "fast follower" copying demands a more integrated system. 

    Finally, pride and envy should not be underestimated by Chinese manufacturers versus Apple. 

    Ironically, this is completely opposite to the general analyst expectation of convergence to a common OS, the infamous albeit in my opinion, unique situation in desktop environment. 
  • Reply 19 of 28
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    maestro64 said:
    I worked with a guy who did some consulting work with Huawei back in the early 2000's just as they were becoming big in Networking equipment and here was his observations about them and how they do business.  He said they ran a 24/7 R&D operations, they have thousands of engineers with BS, MS and PHD in various engineering disciplines working around the clock reverse engineering every single competitors networking product including the company I was working for at the time. He said at the time they had successfully knocked off all of the Cisco products. They were much less successful with our product due to our designs and software, thus the reason they hire this guy as consultant. This is government run and financed company this is the only way they can afford to do what they do. The reason their network product are barred from use in the US is because back doors were found in their products when they first came to market, Since then the US government will not allow any company in the US to use their products.
    I wouldn't touch an OS from a Chinese company with a barge-pole.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    cnocbui said:
    You are such a laugh.  Android failing? - no it isn't; it is gaining marketshare, quarter on quarter.  85% is world domination, not failure.
    not if companies don't make money from it. then its a failure. profit is the oxygen corporations breathe. anything else is fandroid chest-thumping.
    Rumour is that Samsung will have sold 25 million S7s, most of them Edges, by the end of the month.  They at least are making a decent profit.  Near impossible to tell how the Chinese manufacturers are doing.
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