If making an Android alternative was easy, we’d have a lot more of them. Huawei’s HarmonyOS won’t be replacing the mobile operating system for the company anytime soon, and Huawei has made it pretty clear that it would much rather go back to working with Google than go it alone.
Of course, that might not be an option.
The truth is that Huawei and Google were actually getting pretty chummy. They’d worked together plenty, and according to recent rumors, were getting ready to release a smart speaker in a partnership akin to what Google’s been doing with Lenovo in recent years. That was, of course, before Huawei was added to a U.S. “entity list” that ground those plans to a halt.
Huawei’s new OS isn’t an Android replacement… yet
Seems Hongmeng isn’t the Android replacement it’s been pitched as, after all. The initial story certainly tracked, as Huawei has been preparing for the very real possibility of life after Google, but the Chinese hardware giant says the operating system is primarily focused on industrial use.
The latest report arrives courtesy of Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, which notes that the OS has been in development for far longer than the Trump-led Huawei ban has been in effect. Hongmeng is a relatively simple operating system compared to the likes of Android, according to SVP Catherine Chen. The news echoes another recent report that Huawei had initially developed the software for use on IoT devices.
None of this means that Huawei isn’t working on a full mobile operating system, of course. Or that the seeds of this new OS couldn’t be adapted to do more.
And given the recent news, such a move would be a pretty good use of the company’s vast resources. After all, it’s no doubt seen the writing on the wall for some time. While no one anticipated that such a ban would arrive so suddenly, questions about the company have been floated in security circles for years now.
New restrictions from the Trump administration barred Huawei from working with American companies like Google, but temporary reprieves have allowed the smartphone maker to employ Android services — at least temporarily. Questions about the company’s health are still very much up in the air, however, as the ban ramps back up.
Huawei’s new OS is for industrial use, not Android replacement
Yesterday was a rough one for ZTE. A year after pleading guilty to violating sanctions with Iran and North Korea, the U.S. Department of Commerce brought the hammer down and announced a seven-year export restriction on goods sporting U.S. components.
That applies to more than a quarter of the components used in the company’s telecom equipment and mobile devices, according to estimates, including some big names like Qualcomm. The list may well also include Google licenses, a core part of the company’s Android handsets. According to a Bloomberg unnamed source, ZTE is evaluating its mobile operating system options as its lawyers meet with Google officials.
Many of the internal components can be replaced by non-U.S. companies. ZTE can likely lean more heavily on fellow Chinese manufacturers to provide more of the product’s internals, but it’s hard to see precisely where it goes from here with regard to an operating system. There’s an extremely small smattering of alternatives open to the company, but none are great. Each would essentially involve the company working to build things, including app selections, from the ground up — and likely play a much more central role in the OS’s development.
As for Google’s role in all of this, ZTE certainly isn’t make or break for Android’s fortunes. Still, it’s a pretty sizable presence. As of late last year, it commanded 12.2 percent of U.S. market share, putting it in fourth place behind Apple, Samsung and LG. It’s certainly in Google’s best interest to maintain as many prominent hardware partners as possible — though, not if it comes with the added risk of upsetting the DOC in the process.
ZTE said to be meeting with Google over US export ban
We reported earlier that iOS 6 first day adoption was high, but new information provided to TechCrunch by mobile analytics company Apsalar shows that over time, users are definitely picking it up much faster than previous versions. The company sees a lower overall adoption rate in day one than either Chartboost or Chitika, but the numbers show a rapid increase in user adoption over time.
iOS 6 is an over-the-air update, meaning it’s much easier for people to move from previous versions to this one, so long as they already have iOS 5 installed. And unlike Google with Android, Apple pushes out its updates to all of its iPhone and iPad users at more or less the same time. All of those factors, along with a hype machine designed to build anticipation for new features that roll out with each update, seem to be contributing to a quick move toward platform saturation. Apsalar’s sample pool is considerable, too, with 2.2 million devices for its iOS 5 data, and 6.3 million for iOS 6.
That’s great news for developers, who benefit from having all users of a platform on the same page, since they can focus on developing just for one OS version and drop support for older ones more quickly. Some developers I know who work on iOS have even adopted an approach of rapid obsolescence, so they can retain extra lean development workflows and shorten turnaround times for new versions, and Apple’s increasingly impressive ability to get everyone on the same page should make that kind of strategy even more popular.
One developer is reporting much higher rates of adoption for iOS 6 after 48 hours, at almost 30 percent according to MobileSyrup. Specific numbers are bound to vary, but they’re all telling the same story: people are upgrading, and fast.
Apple Users Adopting iOS 6 122% Faster Than iOS 5 After Two Days
Millennial Media sent out its quarterly Mobile Mix report for the second quarter of 2012 today, and the number tells a story of rising fortunes for Samsung in smartphones, and of continued success for Apple, with a potential explosion on the horizon for the iPhone-maker when the next version makes its debut. iOS also grew its share of the overall OS picture, but Android still took the lion’s share of impressions overall with 46% for the quarter.
Apple took the top prize for manufacturers, seeing 31.38% (vs. 28.32% last quarter) of overall device impressions, and the iPhone was the top device, with 15.84% (up slightly from 15.10% in Q1) of the share, compared to just 4.96% for the next closest handset, RIM’s BlackBerry Curve. Still, Samsung also made a strong showing, with eight separate devices in the top 20 overall combining for 13 percent of the pie. On top of that, every Samsung phone that appeared on the list grew its share of impressions when compared to the previous quarter.
The numbers are good for both Apple and Samsung, but maybe more impressive for Apple if only because the company saw growth despite the fact that the current iPhone was essentially stale-dated thanks to widespread anticipation of a fall launch for a new model. But the best is yet to come, since the launch of a new device almost always generates a huge spike for Apple in Millennial’s metrics.
When the iPhone 4S came out, impressions took off, growing 200% in its first week and 1800% once it had been on the market for a full month. Many considered that device an incremental update over the iPhone 4, and the next iPhone promises to be a much more dramatic redesign, so look for an even bigger impact on ad impressions this time around.
Millennial: Apple Devices Top Mobile Ad Impressions, Expect Lead To Grow With New iPhone