Will Huawei succeed in ending the duopoly of Android and iOS on smartphones? In any case, the Chinese company will try. Over the past ten years, many operating systems have tried to find their way into the market, to name only Windows Phone, Windows 10 Mobile, BlackBerry OS, Tizen, and Firefox OS. But none has succeeded.
Huawei, for its part, is going to try its luck with the Harmony OS operating system. In 2019, when the United States announced its sanctions against Huawei, the main result of this was to prevent Google from working with the Chinese manufacturer. As a result, the Mountain View company was no longer able to provide its license for manufacturers of Android smartphones to Huawei.
Also, many rumors had circulated about Harmony OS, which the Chinese manufacturer could use instead of Android on its smartphones, and instead of Windows on computers. Huawei subsequently formalized this operating system.
However, initially, Harmony OS was launched on other product categories. And the manufacturer's new smartphones were still running Android (but using the open source version without Google's services).
Has Huawei finally made up its mind?
This year, the Chinese manufacturer seems to have finally decided to compete with Android on smartphones with Harmony OS. Indeed, as reported by TechCrunch at its developer conference in China in Dongguan, Huawei will finally launch its operating system on smartphones in 2021.
But of course, having an operating system up and running won't be enough. For it to be of interest to users, there will also need to be a strong ecosystem of applications. It is because of the lack of applications on their stores that other OS that tried to compete with Android and iOS failed.
And as TechCrunch notes, at the moment, Huawei still has a long way to go to have an ecosystem comparable to those of Android or iOS. Indeed, currently, Huawei Mobile Services, the equivalent of Google Mobile Services on the Chinese brand's smartphones, has only 96,000 applications, while Android and iOS have millions.
However, Huawei's determination, as well as its weight in the smartphone market, could make the difference. For example, Huawei has already launched a program that allows developers to be paid by offering their applications on HMS.
Huawei also has hardware issues
But right now, Huawei's real problem may not be the software, but rather the hardware. Although it was deprived of the license from Google, the manufacturer was still able to sell smartphones. And since Google's services are not used in China, its devices running the open-source version of Android continued to sell well in the Middle Kingdom.
By contrast, new US sanctions announced this year could complicate Huawei's situation. These are aimed at preventing non-US companies that use US equipment or technology from supplying Huawei.
And currently, Huawei is already facing a processor shortage as the company that supplied its Kirin processors is affected by these measures. In essence, this time around, it is the manufacturer's ability to manufacture smartphones that is threatened. In fact, a rumor suggests that Huawei's smartphone production in 2021 may be 74% lower than in 2020.