Hauwei, the world’s third largest smartphone manufacturer by volume, is working on its own mobile operating system in case its relationship with Google goes awry, according to a new report from The Information.
In development in Scandinavia, Huawei reportedly has a number of former Nokia employees contributing to the effort, with the OS based off its EMUI skin.
This past October, Huawei hired Abigail Brody, a former Apple designer who was on the team that created the original version of iOS, to lead a revamp of the company’s software offerings. The outcome of Brody’s early efforts will reportedly shown off later this year when Huawei reveals a reworked version EMUI.
Huawei, according to The Information, sees better software as a way to realize its ambition to become a global electronics brand, not just one with cachet in its homeland.
Outside of the Nexus 6P, a device that most certainly does not ship with EMUI, very few Hauwei devices make their way to Canada, and indeed the rest of North America. There are exceptions, of course, but for most in the West, the company’s products lack the recognition of competing offerings from the likes of Samsung and Apple. Part of the issue, from Huawei point of view, says The Information, is its lackluster software, which is often accused of being to similar to iOS.
The company has also been frequently associated with the Chinese government and its efforts to spy on North American corporations. The Canadian government recently denied two Huawei former employees entry into Canada over espionage concerns.
That said, the news that Huawei is developing its own operating system in case its relationship sours with Google is interesting. It was just last year that The Information published a report stating the two were actively working on improving their relationship. Google tapped the company to build one of its Nexus devices, and helped it bring the Huawei Watch to North America. More recently, a Huawei executive told a South African publication the company was working on a follow-up to the Nexus 6P for Google.
On the other hand, Huawei is not the only major Android OEM exploring alternatives to what Google has on offer. A Samsung executive recently told Fast Company his company planned to drop Android Wear in favour of its own Tizen operating system for all of its future smartwatch products. The South Korean company later back-tracked on that statement, but it’s fair to say Huawei’s actions aren’t unusual given what other Android OEMs are currently doing.
Whether Huawei continues developing its own OS, it will be a while before we see it; according to The Information, Huawei’s new mobile OS “isn’t far along.”