The HongMeng operating system (OS), developed by Huawei as a
potential alternative to Google’s Android OS, might be released at Huawei’s
Developer Conference on August 9, industry insiders close to the matter told
the Global Times Wednesday.
According to media reports, the user experience (UX) design features a brand new ringtone and notification panel, a cleaner interface for the camera, more animation and faster speed. Users can also add widgets and personalize the locked screen.
Experts said that it is possible for Huawei to build a sustainable smartphone ecosystem on the HongMeng OS and reshape the current market dominated by Android and Apple’s iOS, although the new system is primarily designed for industrial automation and applications in the Internet of Things (IoT).
“Given the design features of the HongMeng OS, it can be a game changer in IoT-related areas, such as driverless cars and smart homes,” Fu Liang, a Beijing-based independent industry analyst, told the Global Times.
According to Huawei’s website, the HongMeng OS is built with a processing latency of less than 5 milliseconds, which is especially required in circumstances involving IoT applications that often need to transfer large amount of data simultaneously.
“It’s not designed for phones as everyone thinks,” Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei, said in a recent interview with the French magazine Le Point.
However, the company could still resort to the HongMeng OS as it may be wary of the threats coming from the US, and it still can be very competitive, according to experts.
“One key advantage of the HongMeng OS is that the Android apps don’t need to be recoded to run in the system,” Fu said. “As it is reportedly 60 percent faster than Android and iOS, more smartphone makers such as Xiaomi and Oppo will be likely to install the OS in their phones.”
As a new OS that’s almost 10 years younger than Android, HongMeng is currently lacking a robust ecosystem that Huawei will need to cultivate and sustain, Fu noted.
According to statistics by statcounters.com, as of June 2019, Android had more than 76 percent of the mobile OS market and iOS had more than 22 percent, leaving less than 2 percent to other systems.
But Huawei is encouraging app developers to join its app store, called AppGallery, to build its ecosystem.
According to a report by technology news website landiannews.com, Huawei has sent an email to app developers inviting them to publish their apps on AppGallery.
“All Huawei smartphones are installed with our official app store AppGallery with more than 270 million monthly active users… To guarantee full support for your app, it is an invitation for you to join our developers’ community and portal,” said the email.
“It is hard to estimate if the new OS is put into use, exactly how many customers will switch to HongMeng in the short term,” said Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance.
“But given time, I see no reason Huawei cannot take up a significant share of the market if it decides to. The millions of users of Huawei are too big to miss out for developers. As more apps operate in the system, more developers will join to build a robust ecosystem.”