The smartphone market has not been in the hands of Samsung and Apple for the last 2 to 3 years. Standing out among the Chinese-based manufacturers and achieving great success in the global arena, Huawei also became a common name at the summit. In fact, in the last 6 months, it has started to threaten Samsung, the leader of the years, by selling more devices than Apple. Moreover, Huawei has not been able to officially sell devices in the USA for a long time. Operators do not offer options from Huawei in addition to invoices.
Even Huawei’s senior officials are detained in the USA. According to Trump, China uses Huawei to store users’ information. The latest move, caused by the increasing tensions over these claims and concerns, came from the Google front. The US technology giant has suspended Google Play services and Android support for the upcoming devices of Chinese Huawei.
Huawei’s plans to operate without Android support have not been on the agenda for a while. Due to the pressure created by the USA in the international arena, the company was making some plans to maintain its current position. Although the possibility of the company to build a hardware and software ecosystem similar to Apple did not create a great expectation, it was spoken backstage.
On the other hand, Google services are already out of use in China, one of the world’s largest smartphone markets. Giants like Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, Samsung already operate in a market that lacks Android support in China. Due to the ban on Google in China, some software solutions were offered on devices with Android operating system sold in the country. These solutions consisted of the manufacturers’ own solutions, not Google’s.
For example, when you bring an Android device with or without an importer warranty from China, there are many Chinese and alternative applications to Play Store services in the device. This applies to all devices, including Huawei. Devices of users in China receive updates from manufacturers, not Google, and get apps from alternative and local stores. Also, apps like Gmail, YouTube, Drive, and Translate are not supported by Android devices in China. Users in China can access all Google services with some special VPN services.
There are 3 things Huawei can do if it is completely devoid of Android:
- develop own operating system; presenting devices with this operating system,
- Presenting its new devices without Google services like in China, constantly supporting the devices with their own updates and security patches,
- To make an agreement with Microoft, as Nokia did in the past, and to resort to an alternative route.
Although the first possibility sounds good and logical, Huawei is not a software company like Apple in origin, but a hardware manufacturer. Of course, the capital he has is more than enough for this business, but there are factors that are already saturated with iOS and Android, even pushing a giant like Microsoft out of the market years ago. It is very, very difficult for Huawei to offer an alternative to Android in software on a global scale. The biggest reason for this is that Android is now an ecosystem, it works not only on smartphones, but also on foldable phones and accessories.
It is very difficult for Huawei to produce an operating system that is as stable as Android with its own operating system and that will continue its competition with Apple. The firm could try this out in pilot areas, but it would take years for such a step to be implemented to broad audiences globally. While the distribution of a simple Android update takes a minimum of 6 months due to the number of devices, it is utopian to talk about a new ecosystem.
The second possibility means that future Huawei users will be fate partners with Chinese users. Frankly, in a place where Google is not banned, no one chooses Huawei between two foreign manufacturers. If you are looking for a Chinese alternative, there is Xiaomi. It is difficult for Huawei to achieve global success in devices with Chinese market tactics without Google support.
The third and final option doesn’t sound that bright at first either. Because there is Microsoft, which entered the market in partnership with Nokia at the time, and then produced a smartphone under its own name after Nokia was exhausted. Mobile Windows versions have never been able to dominate over Android and iOS.
Microsoft has been preparing to join the smartphone market for a long time with a new Windows Mobile family called Surface Phone. Perhaps, by taking this path, Huawei will not only get rid of the difficulty of popularizing its own operating system, but also get the richest company in the world behind it. Of course, the final decision will still belong to the users.
- Note: This tension between the US and China could be reshaped after the 2020 elections. After the US presidential elections next year, a president who advocates conciliatory policies may replace Donal Trump, the name behind the Huawei bans.
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