Huawei Confirms Backup Operating System Amidst Potential Android, Windows Use Ban
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China-based smartphone manufacturer Huawei confirms having a backup operating system for phone, tablet, and PC in case tension between Huawei Technologies Ltd and the US government outrages and bans the use of Android and Windows, as reported by the South China Morning Post on Thursday.
We are not talking about that lightweight OS running on Huawei’s smartwatches. We are talking about a full-fledged operating system that could replace Android if Huawei is being cut off from licensing Google’s Android that is made in the US. Huawei has been on intense scrutiny because of close ties with the Chinese government.
“We have prepared our own operating system, if it turns out we can no longer use these systems [Android], we will be ready and have our Plan B,” said Huawei CEO Richard Yu Chengdong in an interview with German publication Die Welt. “But of course we like it better to work with the ecosystems of Google and Microsoft,” he added.
IDC reports that the operating system is not as good as Android, and does not have any third-party apps developed for it, that is why Huawei did not release the OS. Huawei will not probably use it for good unless it is approaching the worst-case scenario.
A spokesperson from Huawei added that the company does now want to use its backup operating system, and said: “to be honest, we don’t want to use them.” The spokesperson added that the smartphone manufacturer completely supports its partners’ operating systems, and that “we love using them and our customers love using them. Android and Windows will always remain our first choices.”
The third largest smartphone manufacturer in the global market, Huawei has been rumored in developing its own OS since 2012 after the US opened an investigation into Huawei and ZTE concluding that "the risks linked with Huawei's and ZTE's provision of equipment to US critical infrastructure could undermine core U.S. national-security interests.”
Earlier this month, the Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems maker ZTE was banned by the US government from using American products and services for seven years. This includes prohibiting Google from licensing proprietary Android components including the Google Play Store, which makes it hopeless for ZTE to sell Android smartphones despite the fact that the company can get materials from other suppliers. In addition, half of the telecommunications' phones are powered by American firm Qualcomm’s processors, which are also banned from supplying parts to ZTE.
On Huawei’s case, the mobile manufacturer makes its own central processing units (CPUs) for some of their smartphones like the flagship phone P20. Huawei would be more able to survive if tension with the US results in banning the use of Android.
On Tuesday, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the state would not partner with countries that use Huawei’s technology. "The risk to privacy from Huawei’s technology is very, very real,” said Pompeo, “If a country adopts this and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we would not be able to share information with them,” he added in a recent interview with Fox Business.
"In some cases there is a risk, we won't even be able to co-locate American resources, an American embassy, an American military outpost,” Sec. Pompeo added.
Huawei is loading bullets into the magazine after suing the US government. The lawsuit claims that the US “unconstitutionally singled out Huawei for punishment”.
Huawei Deputy Chairman Guo Ping said, “Banning us prevents us from serving our US customers, damages our reputation, and deprives us of an opportunity to serve customers outside the United States. It breaks the separation of power principles, breaks US legal traditions, and goes against the very nature of the US Constitution."
Banning Huawei could lose the chance for the US to compete into the 5G network race.