Features

OPINION: Besides Huawei, Should Other Android Smartphone Developers Be Afraid?

Should what happened to Huawei be a sign that android smartphone developers should reconsider their dependence on Google?

I never thought I'd say this, especially as a person who's pro-Android, but after the recent incident with Huawei and Google it looks like Apple had the right idea. Your smartphone may have the best tech, the best camera, and is lightyears ahead of the iPhone; but without the right OS it's all meaningless.

When Apple first released the iPhone with its own OS and hardware, it was clear that Google wanted in on that. But they had yet to develop their own smartphones at the time, so they instead worked with Samsung to develop the now popular Android style smartphone. Google wasn't the only one to do this of course; Windows also developed their own OS and worked together with Nokia. The results wasn't as exciting as it was with Android smartphones though, which led to death of the Windows OS on smartphones. Even Nokia is using Android now, though a lighter version called AndroidOne.

As you can see, Android is still the most attractive OS in the market, next to Apple's. With the ability to customise to your hearts content and having an open source, its popularity led to the birth of many new smartphone developers such as Vivo, Oppo and even Huawei; all of which are based in China. At that point, Google still needed manufacturers to push the Android OS, which is why many new smartphone brands utilised Android rather than develop their own OS.

Google doesn't need smartphone developers like before

The tables have now turned based on what happened to Huawei, which also made it clear; Google doesn't need smartphone developers anymore and can now cut them off anytime. Sure, they won't do it at a whim, but it's now obvious that it doesn't take much for them to cut out smartphone developers when necessary and with so many other brands using Android, losing Huawei is not a big issue. Google also has their own line of smartphones in the market with Google Pixel, which makes their dependence on other smartphone developers a lot less than before.

This then raises plenty of questions; are Android smartphones at risk? Huawei isn't the only China-based smartphone developer after all; there's also Vivo and Oppo. But who's to say even other developers such as Nokia and LG won't be affected by this in the future? Should we anticipate more new smartphone OS thanks to this?

In this regard, Apple had the right idea in having their own OS. Sure, it comes with a lot of restrictions for us as users, but it's there with no risk of it going down the same pathway as Huawei. They may not have the best tech, but they're looking a lot more stable now than before.

Challenges in Huawei's Plan B

Huawei had already anticipated this to happen, as their ties with America had been constantly scrutinised and questioned since Trump's administration. They already have a Plan B in place; their own OS. It's definitely an interesting turn of events which may start a trend among other smartphone developers as backup for the possibility of Android cutting ties with them.

But the road ahead will not be easy; don't forget what happened to Windows OS. The success of a new smartphone OS is also highly dependent on not just the type of apps the OS can provide, but also whether other app developers, especially for games and entertainment, would also be able to join the platform. There's no doubt big game developers would be able to do so, especially with such a big brand like Huawei. But for smaller developers, developing an app to adapt to a new OS may not be worth it after all.

There's also the question on whether or not the world is ready to adapt a new OS. Since smartphone technology emerged, only two OS remained powerful; Android and iPhone. It's so ingrained in us that trying a new OS may not be as attractive as many of us are used to what we've already used for years.

But maybe that's being pessimistic; maybe Huawei's new OS may prove to be an interesting change. Maybe it will open new doors and possibilities. After all, Huawei has already managed to establish itself as a brand and already has plenty of loyal followers. With the people in China happily supporting the brand there is a possibility that Huawei's new OS may actually be well adapted.

For now though, it's still too soon to say.