Most smartphone hardware is already Chinese. A likely fallout of this US ban on Huawei is that the future of smartphone operating systems is Chinese.
My initial sentiments about the US blacklisting of Huawei from doing business with American companies was that this could backfire on the Americans. My position was that other manufacturers would read the writing on the wall and begin to make contingency plans to be less dependent on US services and technologies.
A recent report by GlobalTimes says that both Xiaomi and OPPO may be testing Huawei’s new mobile operating system, HongMeng. Imagine three of the world’s top Android manufacturers defecting to HongMeng. Imagine several other smaller Chinese brands following their steps.
It can’t be too difficult to see why I think that the future of smartphone operating systems is Chinese.
Google has been lobbying the US government to get them to change their mind about the ban. Why would Google do that? When the second largest manufacturer of Android phones takes a hit like this, your business suffers too. So, yes; Huawei will suffer, but so will Google.
Next, note that of the top 5 smartphone manufacturers in the world, three are Chinese – Huawei, Xiaomi, and OPPO. Why would anyone think that Xiaomi and OPPO would not take this ban seriously? You know how these things work: it is Huawei today; tomorrow, it could be them.
Which is why the news that these other two top smartphone makes are testing HongMeng OS comes as no surprise. Neither of them has invested in a backup OS like Huawei has done. Their interests are perhaps best served taking a look at what Huawei has done in order to determine whether or not they can roll with that.
Again, China is the world’s largest smartphone market. Google will lose a foothold in there if other Chinese brands decide that their futures lie outside of the whims and caprices of the US government. Which is likely what will happen.
Android OS Is Due For Serious Competition
Yes; Android OS needs competition. As a matter of fact, Android OS needs to be disrupted, and the Chinese are the best chance of that happening. We have seen it in many other fields. China is the defacto crown prince of the new global world order. All it takes is for the current monarch, the United States of America, to soot itself in the foot, just like it is doing now.
Why does Android need disrupting? Primarily because it is bloated and does not run smooth on low-end hardware, which was why Google came up with Android Go Edition. For years, Android fought against fragmentation but is heading back in that direction.
Android phones keep needing more and more RAM, when in reality 4GB RAM should do. Just look at how smooth iPhones run with much less RAM. The world needs a leaner, more efficient OS.
According to Rosenblatt Securities, HongMeng system is 100% compatible with Android and has enhanced security features such as personal data protection. It is said that the shipment of HongMeng OS equipment will reach about 1 million units. HongMeng OS is based on a lightweight micro-kernel. It is said that the biggest difficulty encountered in development is its full compatibility with Android. This was done to minimize the transition cost of users and developers.
Recall that Windows 10 Mobile from Microsoft was said to be compatible with the Android layer, but it has not succeeded in winning the market. The likes of Tizen OS from Android never saw the light of day. Huawei executives have revealed that HongMeng OS will launch this fall at the fastest and it will be used across mobile devices, tablets, TVs, IoT, and other device platforms.
The US Needs A Serious Rival
Most of the mobile technologies in use today are American. That gives the US too much power to hurt others – the same way it doing now. After the early 2000s, the European mobile powers seemed to give up, fizzle out and let the US put a neck around everyone’s neck. Siemens exited the building. Nokia did for a brief period. Then there were Alcatel, Sendo and others.
Now, one country holds several key patents that are in use around the world. A monopoly is never a good idea, no matter how well meaning.
Chinese Operating Systems Could Take Over The Future of Smartphone
Already, China owns the hardware side of smartphones. From Apple to Nokia, Xiaomi, OPPO, Huawei, TECNO and others, most smartphone hardware in the world is made in China. You guessed right that the next frontier is the software side, and it will be the Chinese that will own that too. And it is looking like Huawei’s HongMeng OS will be the beginning of that new order.
For now, Huawei has denied the report that Xiaomi and OPPO are testing HongMeng. But time will tell as this whole debacle unravels. However, it has been reported that Huawei has shipped a million smartphones with the new HongMeng OS already.
The good thing is that the world can live with two main branches of Android – Google’s and Huawei’s, so we do not end up with another monopoly. All mobile users, irrespective of whether they use Android phones or HongMeng phones, will have access to the same apps because both are built on Android Open Source. It is a win-win situation. Everybody wins.
But make no mistake about it: the road ahead is rough for Huawei. As at this moment, the Chinese company has no more access to ARM and Panasonic technology, Wi-Fi, USB and SD cards. The company has to find alternatives for a whole lot of items. European and Taiwanese telecom operators have also stopped selling Huawei devices.
The road ahead is rough, but as one wise man has said, “As we struggle, we gain insights. Hardship forces us to optimize.” May that be true in this situation.