While Huawei might develop a new OS to fight Android’s dominance, its real challenge will be to create a vibrant ecosystem around the platform.
Huawei is developing its own in-house OS and has hired former Apple designer Abigail Brody to spearhead its efforts there, claimed a report from The Information. Brody will also be contributing towards enhancing Huawei’s custom Android skin as well apart from helping develop the new OS.
Brody said she is working on some “glaring cosmetic issues” and “pain points” she came across Huawei’s Android skin. Brody further revealed to The Information Huawei has the potential to become “the world’s No. 1, the most advanced and favorite ‘lifestyle-centric’ ecosystem, and without having to copy Apple at all, ever!”
Huawei is the world’s third largest smartphone OEM, behind Samsung and Apple. However, its entire range of smart devices is almost entirely dependent on Google’s Android. Also, it is here that the company’s move to have its own OS assumes significance as it is being seen to have in place an adequate backup plan in case its relation with Google ever hits a bump.
Interestingly, Samsung is also one of the major OEMs to have developed its own OS, Tizen. It, in turn, is something for the Google bosses to ponder over, what with two of its largest OEMs investing in developing their own operating systems.
That being said, Android seems insulated from any immediate danger thanks to its massive app ecosystem. In fact, it is the one single most important factor that would ensure OEMs sticking to the Google OS even if they end up developing an OS that is better than Android. That’s because a new OS will have zero appeal unless it has enough of games and apps to support it.
As such, for companies like Samsung and Huawei, the real challenge will not be to develop a new OS but to lure in enough developers to populate their respective app stores.
Also, just to highlight the enormity of the challenge, even a company as big as Microsoft has eventually failed to put enough apps on its Windows Phone store, eventually leading to a slow demise for the otherwise excellent platform. Microsoft is working on other elaborate plans to ensure its Windows mobile OS resurrects is another story altogether.
Coming back to Android and its potential rivals, the best that Samsung or Huawei can drive with their respective operating systems at the moment to slap them on to smart devices that don’t need a vibrant ecosystem for survival.
That includes devices in the IoT domain or smartwatches. Samsung is already on to it with its latest Gear 2 smartwatch running the Tizen OS.
The new operating systems might also provide their respective manufactures some leveraging point in their dealings with Google on Android though those again will be too minor at the moment.
However, with reports of Google attempting to establish a tighter control over its Android platform over fragmentation issues, operating systems such as Tizen or that from Huawei might be food for some thought for the search giant in future.