Last week, the Internet was abuzz with rumors talk about how Huawei, like Samsung, is building a contingency plan so that it won’t be tied to the crutch of Android. This “Plan B” was supposedly prompted by whispers of Google’s intent to exert more control over the mobile platform. Company “Rotating” CEO Yu Chengdong (Richard Yu) has taken to Weibo to express continuing solidarity with Android. But with one important caveat. He says that Huawei will keep on using Android as long as the platform remains open.
Of course, that has been the point of contention in the first place, so, in a way, Yu does confirm that the company foresees the possibility of Google somewhat closing the doors to tighten its grip on the platform. While it doesn’t exactly confirm the development of a new operating system, which some have christened the “Kirin OS”, it might have very well been corroborated by this uncertainty on Android’s future.
Google is believed to be making some subtle moves to corral the Android ecosystem into a more coherent whole. Fragmentation has been traditionally seen as one of the platform’s biggest failures, compared to iOS, which has affected the speed and quality of updates to devices, especially critical security fixes.
However, as the Huawei exec implies, it is Android’s openness that was instrumental in its rapid growth and spread in the market. It might be platform suicide for Android if Google starts to curtail OEMs’ freedoms, but it is also arguable that checks and improvements need to be set in place to improve the status quo.
For now, however, Huawei is still banking heavily on this “crutch”, but not without its own personal touch. Huawei continues to develop its own EMUI to supplement, if not supplant, the Android experience. Ironically, that could also be the very reason why Google is mulling over imposing stricter guidelines.