Huawei played down reports it is planning to develop its own mobile platform in order to reduce its reliance on Google’s Android operating system (OS), stating it has no such intention in the “foreseeable future”.
According to a statement issued to the media, the company said its focus is on “products powered by Android OS”, with it also noting it takes an “open attitude toward mobile OS”. Zhao Ming, president of Huawei’s Honor unit, previously said that “there is no doubt that Huawei is capable of doing it, but for now I don’t think it is necessary”.
The comments come as Huawei and peer ZTE face increased pressure in the US, which has the potential to disrupt business relationships with partners from the country – in the case of mobile platforms, with Google. While as yet no restrictions have been placed on Huawei’s international operations, the company has failed to pick up operator support for its smartphones in the country.
With a looming trade war between China and the US, it would seem prudent for Huawei to examine its relationships with overseas suppliers, for safety’s sake if little else. Indeed, the South China Morning Post report, which prompted Huawei to assert its commitment to Android, said the company was readying its own platform “for a rainy day”, with work having begun in 2012 – the time of its last spat with the US.
With the availability of Google’s services restricted in China, any issues for Huawei relating to the use of Android would impact its international operations (which already largely excludes the US). In addition to Google’s services, the Play apps and content catalogue is a key part of the Android ecosystem which would not be easy to replicate out-of-the-box.