The ban on Huawei by the US could drive the smartphone industry to a radical shift. The launch of Hongmeng, Huawei’s own operating system, could change the equations of mobile OS ecosystem once and for all.
There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the future launch of Hongmeng OS – Huawei’s own operating system and a competitor to Android. Hongmeng OS, which is meant to be the OS Android is replaced with once the ban on Huawei comes into full effect, was said to be launched in June of this year by Alaa Elshimy, Managing Director and Vice President of Huawei Enterprise Business Group Middle East. He had told TechRadar this month that:-
However, refuting the claim, representatives from Huawei have clarified that the launch of Huawei’s OS won’t be happening this soon on such short notice. Instead, the actual date is still unknown but is slated to be someday in 2019-20.
Huawei has Jumped The Gun, Again!
All this confusion surrounding the launch of the Hongmeng OS originates from the TechRadar Middle East interview of Alaa Elshimy. Making such a huge claim, only for it to be refuted later on such a level is embarrassing, not just for the executive, but for the company as well. However, this isn’t the first time that Huawei found itself in a situation to put a foot in mouth. Back in June of 2016, a Huawei executive in South Africa confidently claimed that they would be making the Nexus smartphones that year. Later it was found out that the gig for making the next two smartphones was given to HTC instead.
Such debacles of misinformation are only going to throw the troubled smartphone manufacture into more controversy. And considering the challenging situation Huawei is facing from all sides due to the ban imposed by the US, it would be wiser for Huawei’s executives to refrain from making such mistakes in the future.
Huawei OS: A Big Change from Android?
The Hongmeng OS is something Huawei has apparently been working on since 2012. After Google revoked the Android license of Huawei, it is in their best interests to not only release an Android alternative as soon as possible but also make sure that it is not too different from the OS widely accepted by smartphone users worldwide. And Huawei is looking to do precisely this.
No doubt, its new OS will be meant to be compatible with mobile phones, computers, tablets, TVs, connected cars, smartwatch, smart wearables and others, but building an app ecosystem from start is definitely going to be a daunting task for Huawei. Hence, it is important that Huawei’s new OS must support all the Android apps without too many customisations required.
According to Elshimy, it will be the Huawei AppGallery from where users will be able to download their apps. Previous reports have suggested that Huawei has been working on AppGallery in collaboration with Aptiode.
It’s not yet clear whether Hingmen is going to be the official name of Huawei’s new OS or it’s just a codename. The new OS from Huawei might even get a different name upon launch. Reports have pointed towards a change of name upon launch, from Hongmeng OS to Ark OS. However, the quantity of apps that will be available in the AppGallery upon launch still remains an issue. It’s quite unlikely that there will be hundreds of thousands of apps available on AppGallery right away! Even if the new OS of Huawei stays compatible with all Android apps, it still remains to be seen whether the Google Play Store apps will be allowed to feature on Huawei’s app store as well. Therefore, it is vital for Huawei to focus on covering all the main categories of apps so as to convince their users to switch over to Hongmeng OS, when necessary.
All said, at this point, the launch of the new OS from Huawei is not around the corner. And, what strategy Huawei would employ after the 90-day ban extension to stay afloat in markets outside China, it’s anyone’s guess, still!