Major smartphone manufacturers have no problem putting their own “skin” on top of Android when releasing new devices. In a new development, Huawei appears to be working on something that is more than just skin deep for their future devices. Sources report the Chinese company is working on their own mobile operating system as a hedge against Google possibly changing the terms and conditions for the use of the Android operating system.
Details are scant regarding exactly how Huawei is going about this latest project. The company’s engineers could be building something from the ground up or they could be starting with Android as a base and developing their own custom ROM. The sources familiar with this secret operating system project say the work is being done by former engineers from Nokia.
These same sources indicate Huawei is working with designers on the EMUI interface layer for their devices to make them seem less like Apple or iOS devices. The idea is that as presently distributed consumers will see Huawei as just an Apple copycat, a criticism previously leveled at Huawei even on a smaller scale than their U.S. market plans call for in the future, unless they move to make their devices more distinct. The project to develop a full blown alternative to Android is apparently part of this overall effort to prep the company for a bigger role in the U.S. market.
The idea that Huawei might have to swap in something other than Android due to Google shenanigans seems a bit suspect, so the project could be one that never sees the light of day and is just an exercise in contingency planning. After the relative success of last year’s Nexus 6P that was produced by Huawei, it seems like the company would be on good terms with Google going forward. Of course, such thinking did not stop Google and Samsung from experiencing some tension, real or imagined, in the past and we even see Samsung staying away from Android Wear for their wearable devices.