Huawei working on alternative to Android operating system

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies is working on its own proprietary Operating System (OS) since 2012 after a US investigation into the company, the media reported. The company, which is also the world’s biggest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, would ditch Google’s Android platform amid reports that it is under investigation by the US for breaching sanctions against Iran, the South China Morning Post reported on Sunday. “The company started building its own OS after a US investigation into Huawei and ZTE in 2012. Huawei also has its own OS for tablets and personal computers,” the report added.

According to the media report, the US House Intelligence Committee found after a year-long investigation that the Chinese businesses, Huawei Technologies, and ZTE Inc, were a “national security threat because of their attempts to extract sensitive information from American companies and their loyalties to the Chinese government”. Google’s Android OS and Apple’s proprietary iOS have a stronghold on smartphone OS, accounting for 99.9 per cent of the global market, according to Gartner.

“The plan to build a proprietary OS was started by Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, and the company has never given up on it as it is seen as a strategic investment to prepare for ‘worst-case scenarios’,” the report added. Huawei’s alternative to Android has not been released as it is not “as good” as Android and the system does not have many third-party apps developed for it.

The company is currently under investigation. If the US Department of Justice finds it guilty of violating sanctions, it could impose criminal penalties on the smartphone maker. Another Chinese player, ZTE, paid $892 million in fines for exporting US tech to Iran last year. The US Department of Commerce has activated a denial of export privileges against ZTE for alleged violations of the US Export Administration Regulations. ZTE Corp is currently taking steps to comply with the US denial order.

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