Report Details Huawei’s Plans for an Android Alternative

A new report provides our best look yet at Huawei’s plans to circumvent Android and replace it with its own in-house operating system.

As you may know, these plans have taken on a new urgency thanks to the United States blacklisting Huawei from doing business with U.S.-based corporations. This blacklisting will cut off the firm from Google, which makes Android and supplies software updates, and from component makers like Qualcomm that provide some of the chipsets used inside its devices.

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But Huawei has been planning for this day for quite some time, according to a new report in the South China Morning Post. The firm began working on its Android alternative over seven years ago when Huawei became concerned about Android’s market penetration and the power that Google wielded over the industry. The response? Huawei would build its own mobile OS “under conditions of tight secrecy.”

The publication says that Huawei’s internal OS efforts are happening inside Huawei 2012 Laboratories, a secret research and development lab. But with the U.S. blacklisting, Huawei has started to open up about its alternative OS efforts, which include an alternative to Windows for PCs as well, in part to quell customer fears for the future.

“As we have noted before, Huawei does have backup systems but only for use in extenuating circumstances,” a Huawei statement notes. “We fully support our partners’ operating systems – we love using them and our customers love using them. Android and Windows will always remain our first choices. In the meantime, we will do everything within our power to protect the interests of our customers.”

According to the South China Morning Post, Huawei’s Android alternative uses a microkernel architecture and is compatible with Android, enabling users to run Android apps normally. This is obviously key to the success of the venture, since an incompatible OS would face significant resistance from customers.

As for the name of this system, Huawei registered the name “Huawei Hongmeng”—“primordial world” in English—last year in China. But it separately registered “Huawei Ark OS” in the European Union this past May as well. And that seems like a more obvious name, at least for Huawei’s Western customers.

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Conversation 31 comments

  • beckerrt

    Premium Member
    11 June, 2019 - 11:14 am

    <p>Now THIS is what I'm talking about. Good for them. All you Huawei lovers out there, this is what you should be rooting for, instead of whining and complaining about the big, bad US and Supreme Leader Trump. Fight back with new non-US technology! This is good to see. </p>

    • karlinhigh

      Premium Member
      11 June, 2019 - 11:44 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#434636">In reply to beckerrt:</a></em></blockquote><p>I wonder how many people who approve of the USA's Huawei ban would be comfortable using a Huawei OS? Maybe things are headed to each major-world-power country having its own Internet and its own software ecosystem.</p>

      • lvthunder

        Premium Member
        11 June, 2019 - 12:45 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#434645">In reply to karlinhigh:</a></em></blockquote><p>That number would be quite low, but there are plenty of people (at least around here) don't approve of the USA's export ban.</p>

  • terry jones

    11 June, 2019 - 11:45 am

    <p>Why would these thieves need an alternative to Windows?</p><p>What was it Steve Ballmer said about China? </p><p><span style="color: rgb(40, 47, 47);">Oh yea. "90% of Chinese companies were using Windows, but only 1% were paying for it"</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(40, 47, 47);">But keep on defending these crooks. </span></p><p><br></p>

    • skane2600

      11 June, 2019 - 12:31 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#434647">In reply to terry jones:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, because US companies have <em>never </em>ran bootlegged copies of software. As for why Huawei is doing this, it should be as obvious to you as it is to everyone else here. </p>

      • lvthunder

        Premium Member
        11 June, 2019 - 12:50 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#434665">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Not to the same extent as China does.</p>

        • skane2600

          11 June, 2019 - 1:21 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#434673">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>Perhaps, but it's not clear how these allegations are verified. I know the places I worked didn't call up Microsoft to tell them of their misdeeds. </p><p><br></p><p>In any case, linking all the bootlegged Windows in China to Huawei isn't legit. </p>

          • lvthunder

            Premium Member
            11 June, 2019 - 1:50 pm

            <blockquote><em><a href="#434681">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>No one is linking all bootlegged Windows to Huawei but you.</p>

            • skane2600

              11 June, 2019 - 3:31 pm

              <blockquote><em><a href="#434690">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>Actually, if you read my comment carefully you'd realize that I didn't and if you read terry's comment carefully you'd see that they linked unlicensed Windows software in China to Huawei. There's no other reasonable interpretation of their comment.</p>

      • terry jones

        11 June, 2019 - 1:31 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#434665">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><blockquote>That's some pretty lame whataboutism there chief. Comparing a few scummy companies in the US with a policy of industrial espionage set forth by the Chinese government.</blockquote><blockquote>Try harder.</blockquote><p><br></p>

        • skane2600

          11 June, 2019 - 3:36 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#434683">In reply to terry jones:</a></em></blockquote><p>You were the one that brought unlicensed software into the discussion. My bad for responding to your original off-topic comment. </p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      12 June, 2019 - 2:38 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#434647">In reply to terry jones:</a></em></blockquote><p>Because the US Government has banned Microsoft from selling Windows licenses to them.</p>

  • conan007

    11 June, 2019 - 12:03 pm

    <p>Will it work? Windows Phone and Amazon's Fire Phone may be of some guide. I feel any phone without App Store or Play Store would find it very difficult to compete.</p>

    • glenn8878

      11 June, 2019 - 1:17 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#434650">In reply to conan007:</a></em></blockquote><p>It will definitely work in China's closed market where residents can't access Google and Facebook. They can easily use WeChat and other Chinese apps that you can't get here. Then from China, they expand further east and west. Huawei doesn't have US presence so the US market is irrelevant at least for now.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      12 June, 2019 - 2:37 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#434650">In reply to conan007:</a></em></blockquote><p>Huawei already has their own app store, although it is currently sparsely populated in western markets.</p>

  • kshsystems

    Premium Member
    11 June, 2019 - 12:14 pm

    <p>What about the Google Play Store?</p>

    • karlinhigh

      Premium Member
      11 June, 2019 - 12:25 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#434653">In reply to kshsystems:</a></em></blockquote><p>I had little trouble getting Google Play Store onto an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. It was a few APK sideloads. If per-the-article the Huawei OS can run Android apps normally, <span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">I expect there will be a way to do the same thing u</span>nless Google or Huawei put effort into preventing it. Mobile-native users might be put-off by the inconvenience, though.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      12 June, 2019 - 4:56 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#434653">In reply to kshsystems:</a></em></blockquote><p>It will have its own app store and replacement services for the Google services.</p>

  • Todd Northrop

    11 June, 2019 - 12:40 pm

    <p>Good luck with that.</p>

  • lvthunder

    Premium Member
    11 June, 2019 - 12:51 pm

    <p>Of course they are doing this. It would be stupid of them not to have a backup. They know what's coming.</p>

  • Bats

    11 June, 2019 - 1:59 pm

    <p>Yah…..ever hear of Samsung? </p>

  • SvenJ

    11 June, 2019 - 2:39 pm

    <p>Based on the store in the header shot, wonder if their OS will look more like Android or iOS?</p>

  • Daekar

    11 June, 2019 - 3:58 pm

    <p>Will be interesting to see how this plays out. It might be very awkward indeed for Google to face a competing OS that can natively run Android apps. Honestly, it's surprising that it's taken as long as it has for competing political blocks to develop their own native OS ecosystem. </p>

  • richard1976

    11 June, 2019 - 8:53 pm

    <p>Back in 1999 things was different,thats 30 years ago! The First licens i paid for, was Windows 7 Ultimate. guess where I come from. (Hint: fjords &amp; oil)</p><p><br></p><p>software discovery and distribution was a culture so different from to day, so much that it would be described as pre historical in a history lesson of today. This is a different topic, but I think its important to remember the context of evolution, in this case technology evolution. </p><p><br></p><p>I was not a thif, the only way to get software was to get a copy from a friend, mostly my American neighbours. (oil workers) this was the way for many years, pre Internet &amp; pre cable/fibre. 2014 was the last time I bought a hard copy of software. Think about that as a context for part's of the discussion. </p><p><br></p><p>The trade war is business. Politics is about dividing &amp; managing resources. </p><p><br></p><p>Richard </p><p>From the fjords;) </p>

    • boots

      11 June, 2019 - 11:49 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#434752">In reply to richard1976:</a></em></blockquote><p>1999 Was <em>20</em> years ago.</p>

  • HoloLensman

    12 June, 2019 - 1:28 am

    <p>No thanks. I have security concerns with Android. Why would I ever want to use a Chinese knockoff?</p><p><br></p>

    • dontbe evil

      12 June, 2019 - 12:02 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#434774">In reply to HoloLensman:</a></em></blockquote><p>I feel more safe with huawei than google</p>

      • bill_russell

        12 June, 2019 - 2:27 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#434860">In reply to dontbe_evil:</a></em></blockquote><p>Sure…the worst thing in being on the internet is getting that "sneaky" google ad that shows what you looked at on amazon recently. Just makes one feel so violated and unsafe. </p><p><br></p><p>Meanwhile, as your focus is 100% on the evils of google's ads, your device could very well be compromised, cryptomining and connections being secretly sniffed by dark corners of the internet.</p><p><br></p>

    • skane2600

      12 June, 2019 - 4:44 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#434774">In reply to HoloLensman:</a></em></blockquote><p>I say, let the technology be your guide rather than the point of origin. It could end up being <em>more </em>secure. Who knows?</p>

  • UK User

    Premium Member
    13 June, 2019 - 4:36 am

    <p>I know that the writing has been on the for a long long time but I held my hands up and gave in. My Lumia 650 still works as I like but now I read that Microsoft has started 'depreciating' updates for those Windows phone still able to receive them. A couple of months ago I went over to Android, I don't pay big bucks for my phones so iPhones are out of the question. I chose a Honor 10 Lite handset, and overall I have come to terms with it, until that is the trade war, now ongoing between the USA and China, makes this relatively new phone as bad as my old Lumia 650 for continuing updates. The Honour brand of course belongs to Huawei so it looks like I may have a second crippled phone due to no fault of my own. Free Trade? It's costing dear.</p>

  • john1990

    13 June, 2019 - 3:21 pm

    <p>Has there been any confirmed documented of Huawei "spying" on people on the Huawei's products? </p><p>Its just a scare tactic which by the morons in the Trump administration.</p><p><br></p><p>Think about it. All this backlash the idiots in at the trump admin is just to crush a rising company.</p><p><br></p><p>Now due to trumps mindless actions on trade and traffis, this will cause greater unemployment in China and hurt their economy.</p><p><br></p><p>With the economy slowing in China, there probably will much more immigrants trying to come int the US.</p><p><br></p><p>Great going Pence / Trump, ya morons</p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

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