Update: Lately, the company is reneging from its earlier claims of Hongmeng being the Android alternative. Huawei Board Member and Senior Vice President, Ms. Catherine Chen says that Hongmeng was designed for “industrial use” with a central focus on security and “extreme low latency.”
US government steamrolled Huawei into a corner, which had led to several American Tech giants including Google to revoke Android License and the business ties with the Chinese behemoth. Things soon healed to an extent, thanks to a 90-day stay from the Trump administration.
Apparently, Huawei had prophesized this and was working on Android alternatives. Put differently, it was prepping for a day when it loses access to Google Play services and the Play Store apps. So far, we have heard several names are as Android alternative for future Huawei phones. Here are all the Android OS alternatives, Huawei is rumored to be considering so far:
1. Hongmeng OS/ Ark OS/ Oak OS
In the month of March, this year, Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Division had revealed to German publication Die Welt,
“We have prepared our own operating system. Should it ever happen that we can no longer use these systems, we would be prepared. That’s our plan B, But of course, we prefer to work with the ecosystems of Google and Microsoft.”
This operating system could go by several names, most probably Hongmeng OS. It is said to be under work from 2012. A trademark application dated Aug 24, 2018, has been approved for “Huawei Hongemeng” on May 14, 2019. This extends until May 13, 2029.
The roots of Hongmeng name exist in Chinese Mythology, just like Kirin, the name of their chip series. Rest, the OS could be christened a different name for the global market. Two of the expected names are Ark OS and Oak OS. “Huawei ARK OS” trademark was registered at EUIPO, on May 24, 2019. Design patent for the same has been filed at DPMA (German Patent and Trademark Office)
It could be based on Linux, much like Android, and would come with support for Android as well as web apps. It might be used for multiple platforms such as smartphones, tablets, wearables, and notebooks. Things seem speeding up as reports claim Huawei has shipped 1 million smartphones with this software for testing, and allegedly they come with compatibility with Android apps and enhanced data security.
Huawei CEO had tipped to CNBC that their OS could launch by the fourth quarter (probably October) of 2019 in the homeland. Thereafter, it would soon hit the global markets in the first or the second quarter of 2020. Initially, it might be released within low-end phones.
2. Sailfish OS/ Avrora OS/ Aurora OS
Sailfish OS is an open-source platform developed by the brains behind Nokia’s ill-fated MeeGo OS. It is pre-installed on a few devices and is supported on some Sony Xperia smartphones also. Its key value proposition is privacy and data security. Rest, it also comes with support for Android apps, gesture-based navigation, multi-tasking, and few other similar UI elements.
Huawei won’t be using Sailfish, instead, a Russian rendition of it called- Avrora OS or Aurora OS. Ergo, there have been rumors of talks between Huawei and Russian authorities.
What do you think of the Huawei’s Android OS replacements?
From the consumer point of view, more alternatives, the merrier. However, in the macro point of view, this could have other implications. Huawei’s initiative could have a domino effect and other companies might follow the practice. Google has already warned the security risks from the Huawei’s Android replacement.
All that said, let’s not jump the gun. If US-China trade negotiation gets resolved with a pen, Huawei might not go this route, as it has already emphasized. Let’s see.