One of the biggest technical challenges for Huawei's growing operating system is its compatibility with Android.
Seven years ago, in a lakeside mansion in Shenzhen, a small group of senior executives from Huawei Technologies, headed by Nham Chinh Phi, organized a day-long caucus. God.
Their mission is to come up with ideas, how Huawei will deal with Google's increasingly successful smartphone operating system – Android – also the software that Huawei is using on. own devices. Chinese technology firm is concerned that dependence on Android may make it difficult for the company to face a ban from the US in the future.
The group agrees that Huawei should develop an exclusive operating system to replace Android. This meeting was later called by internal insiders "the secret talks at the lake", and last year, event-related documents were classified as highly classified.
Following the talks, and following instructions from senior management, a group of operating experts led by many leaders including Eric Xu Zhijun, now one of Huawei's three rotating presidents, has been set up and began to secretly develop its own operating system.
A specialized area was created inside Huawei to act as a "combat center" for the operating system development team, with guards standing in front of the door. Only employees in the operating system development team have access to specialized areas via a pre-registered card. Of course, personal cell phones are not allowed to be brought into the area, must be placed in an outside closet.
Operating system projects have become an important part of Huawei 2012 Laboratories – The company's technology innovation, research and development department.
This laboratory is the workplace of Huawei's scholars and researchers, with the goal of making breakthroughs and spending billions of yuan invested each year even without directly contributing. profit of the company.
Most of the results of this lab are kept internally within the company, including an operating system development project, when its existence is only recently acknowledged by Huawei.
But the times have changed, since 2012 when a small group of international brands dominated the smartphone market and Huawei only held less than 5% of the global market share. They are now the world's second-largest smartphone provider, selling a total of 206 million smartphones in 2018, nearly half of which is for overseas markets.
"As we said before, Huawei has backup systems but is only used in mitigation situations. We fully support our operating systems – we like to use them and our customers prefer to use them."- a Huawei spokesman said.
"Android and Windows will always be our first choice. However we will do everything in our power to protect our customers' interests".
Discussions revolved around Huawei's proprietary operating system that came out in March this year, when Huawei's mobile leader Richard Yu Chengdong stated that the company has developed a "genuine" operating system for both smartphones. and computers, used in cases where the systems currently offered by US technology companies are no longer useful.
Yu's remarks came at a time when the US began to put pressure on Huawei for its participation in the global 5G network deployment, and warned allies that Chinese company's equipment. may pose a risk of national security.
The world's largest supplier of telecommunications equipment currently faces a series of US allegations, including serious allegations such as Huawei stealing trade secrets, violating economic sanctions, and hiding business with Iran through an unofficial subsidiary.
Huawei has repeatedly denied these allegations, claiming that the US side has no evidence.
The issue of Huawei's operating system development became even more urgent after the US government put the company and its subsidiaries on the blacklist in the middle of last May, restricting the company from buying the service. services and components from US companies without a permit.
Google and Microsoft, the two companies that own the Android and Windows software that Huawei is using on their smartphones, tablets and laptops, have stopped providing software for Huawei's new devices.
With only 90 days left to prepare before being completely banned from Android and Windows, the Chinese company finally had to publicize its secret plan so far.
According to many sources, Huawei's operating system is developed based on a small kernel (microkernel) and can react quickly to a series of changes at the same time. Huawei engineers working on the project are the ones who have thoroughly researched the Android and iOS operating systems to learn their strengths.
One of the biggest technical challenges for Huawei's operating system is compatibility with Android. If compatible, it will allow Huawei phones running Huawei operating systems to download and run Android applications smoothly. At the same time, having a good compatibility layer with Android will mean that application developers around the world do not need to write additional code for applications to run on Huawei's operating system.
Previously, many other companies used to create alternative Android operating systems but failed. Microsoft has developed a class on Windows so it can run Android apps, but fails because not all Android apps work smoothly. Samsung also tried to replace Android on smartphones with the Tizen operating system, but it also failed.
Similarly, if Huawei's operating system cannot run the Android application, the absence of a software ecosystem will be a sore headache for Chinese companies.
Last year, Huawei registered a trademark.Huawei Hongmeng"In China, there is some skepticism that it may be the name of the operating system being developed." Hongmeng "translated into English means" The Wild Pink World. "Besides, the company also registered name "Huawei Ark OS"in Europe last May.
Huawei seems to be very optimistic about its operating system
According to Yu, Huawei's self-developed operating system will support a wide range of products and systems in its ecosystem, including smartphones, computers, tablets, TVs, cars, and wearable devices. Intelligent, and compatible with all existing Android applications and web applications.
"Huawei OS is likely to appear on the market as early as this fall, and certainly before the following spring"- Yu said. Huawei refused to confirm this information.
"I cannot disclose any information other than what Mr. Yu said"- Zhao Ming, President of Honor, one of Huawei's two smartphone brands, said.
Many questions have been raised around user experience issues, and whether overseas customers really want to buy a phone without Google's popular applications.
Android of Google and iOS of Apple is currently two "guys" in the smartphone operating world, accounting for 99.9% of the global market.
Huawei is confident of the prospects of the "genuine" operating system in China, believing that local developers and consumers will support and quickly build a new ecosystem. Huawei's sales have continuously increased at home, although the Android operating system they use here is never equipped with Google services to comply with government regulations.
But Bloomberg on June 5 reported that European consumers' worries that Huawei phones will quickly become overwhelming have caused demand for their devices to plummet in some markets. in this area.
"This is not the best time to introduce a new operating system, because Huawei should only try it when they have a bigger market share. In the country, they may be fine, but the company still has to worry about the international response"- an analyst said.
Huawei undoubtedly needs some solutions to deal with the escalating attacks from the US.
Although Huawei has been preparing for the longest-ever situation, the Strong CFO case of Chu was arrested at the end of 2018 and the events that occurred since that time forced the company to accelerate its plan – according to Nham. It was Phi, the founder and Huawei CEO, Mrs. Manh's father.
When the US pointed towards Huawei, launching its own operating system became a task of special importance to Chinese companies.
"Huawei is still not fully prepared to launch its operating system, because the US ban comes suddenly"- two people know the disclosure. Although the Android replacement operating system has been tested thousands of times in Huawei's expert group,"it has not yet been extensively tested on consumer products, which means that Huawei has yet to determine the exact launch date of this operating system.".