Politics

Can Huawei’s new OS make customers ditch Googles Android?

Huawei is expected to drop more details about its homegrown Hongmeng operating system at an upcoming conference. But is the world ready to ditch Android for an untested Chinese alternative? And is Google worried?

A new Huawei phone equipped with the Hongmeng operating system could go on sale before the end of the year, the state-linked Chinese newspaper Global Times reported on Sunday. According to the newspaper, the phone aims to target the low and medium ends of the smartphone market, setting the price tag at around 2,000 yuan (roughly US$290).

The phone is likely to make an appearance at Huaweis annual developer conference, kicking off on Friday in Songshan Lake. Ahead of any bombshell information, how likely is the operating system to woo customers away from the ubiquitous Android?

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Its worth noting that Hongmeng was never Huaweis priority. The Chinese company – currently the worlds second-largest smartphone manufacturer behind South Koreas Samsung – was content to ship its devices with Googles Android operating system, until political developments between Washington and Beijing threw that arrangement into jeopardy.

Amid a simmering trade war between the two countries, the Trump administration added Huawei to a trade blacklist in May, forbidding US firms from selling parts and components to the Chinese smartphone giant. The restrictions on buying from American firms were suspended a month later, but not before Huawei executive Richard Yu announced it would release its own “Plan B” operating system in response. CEO Ren Zhengfei also hinted that the OS had been in development for some time, as Huawei had been “preparing” for US persecution.

The choice between Android – which has 2.5 billion monthly active users worldwide – and a “Plan B” operating system might seem like an obvious one for consumers, but Yu insisted that Huaweis OS will run Android apps, and may even improve their performance. According to a report from Global Times, Chinese manufacturers OPPO and VIVO – which clog up sites like GearBest and Aliexpress with budget handsets – tested the OS and reported it to be 60 percent faster than Android.

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If Huaweis gamble pays off and the company ditches Android for good, Google could lose up to 800 million users, Zhengfei said last month. However, if the operating system proves a failure, Huawei could fall behind Samsung, Apple and the smattering of other Chinese makers that dominate the global smartphone leaderboards. Success for Huawei will likely rest on pushing out a functioning product, and convincing other Chinese manufacturers to adopt it.

While app availability will likely be users biggest concern, the choice between Hongmeng and Android will also come down to two key points: virus protection and battery life. Google Play Protect performs safety checks on any apps downloaded on Android devices. Without this protection, Google has reportedly Read More – Source

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