When the US restricted companies from working with Huawei – seen by many as part of the on-going trade war with China – one of the big names that surfaced was Google. With a potential ban on future access to Android, attention swung to Huawei’s plan B – its own operating system.

In a report from Global Times, an English Language newspaper in China, Huawei’s HongMeng OS – possibly to be called Ark OS when it comes to market – has been demonstrated and shown to be 60 per cent faster than Android.

We’d take this figure with a pinch of salt: there’s nothing to qualify how that speed is measured and exactly what that might mean in real world terms.

What’s perhaps more interesting is the names that seem to be getting involved. Global Times says that Oppo and Vivo – two huge vendors in China – have “sent teams to test the new system”. Currently, all these manufacturers use Google’s Android with their own products and services piled in over the top.

Between these three companies – Huawei, Oppo, Vivo – you have a huge slice of the Chinese market as well as global markets, especially in Asia. There’s also been a report from China Daily that HongMeng OS has shipped on over 1 million devices, which are being circulated for testing. 

HongMeng OS is reported to work with all Android apps, but include increased options for the protection of personal data. Huawei is also said to be encouraging app developers to use its own AppGallery, to provide an alternative avenue to Google’s Play Store.

Huawei had secured the second spot in global smartphone shipments – with only Samsung maintaining a lead – and it looks like the Chinese company has no intention of taking the US ban lying down. Development of an alternative to Android seems well underway. While that might be quickly accepted in Asia, convincing western markets to move to a different platform will be much more of a challenge.

Currently, Huawei only has support from Google until August – and with the Huawei Mate 30 in the pipeline, it’s going to be an interesting few months.



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