Huawei OS could fight Android (and Windows) next year

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Huawei P20 Pro
It’s just a backup plan for now.
Photo: Huawei

Huawei is developing its own operating system that will power its smartphones and other devices if it cannot rely on Android.

Richard Yu, head of the company’s consumer division, has now confirmed the software could be ready in early 2020. Android and Windows remain its top preference for now, however.

Google revoked Huawei’s Android license earlier this month after the Chinese firm was blacklisted by the U.S. government. Intel, Qualcomm, and other U.S. companies followed suit by halting their partnerships with the company.

Despite recently being suspended for 90 days, the ban has left the future of Huawei smartphones and other devices uncertain. But there is a plan B.

Huawei is working on its own OS

Huawei has been hard at work on its own operating system just in case it found itself in this position.

Yu confirmed in an interview with CNBC on Thursday that the software will be ready to power Huawei smartphones and laptops in China by the fourth quarter of 2019.

The OS, which will have its very own software marketplace called the App Gallery, will be ready to expand its reach to other countries by the first or second quarter of 2020, Yu added.

It’s just a backup

If Huawei is able to iron things out with the U.S., its own OS may not see the light of day.

“Today, Huawei, we are still committed to Microsoft Windows and Google Android,” Yu insisted. “But if we cannot use that, Huawei will prepare the plan B to use our own OS.”

The platforms Huawei is already using remain its primary preference, and it would rather not compete against them. But it would be “forced to do that” by the U.S. government, Yu said.

It won’t be easy

If Huawei does have to fall back on plan B, it won’t be easy.

BlackBerry, Firefox, Palm, and even Microsoft have tried and failed to compete with Android over the years. History has taught us that if you’re not offering an iPhone with iOS, you’d better be using Android or consumers won’t want it.

Perhaps Huawei will have more success now that it has become one of the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturers.