After the United States blocked Chinese Big Tech giant Huawei from using the Android operating system as part of a Trump administration executive order, the Chinese corporation have announced that they will be launching their own mobile operating system in a desperate attempt to compete in the smartphone market.
As The Verge reported, Huawei’s HarmonyOS arrived on tablets as the company unveiled their “MatePad Pro” product.
“Huawei has announced a trio of new MatePad tablets; a new 12.6-inch MatePad Pro, a smaller 10.8-inch MatePad Pro, and a new MatePad 11. Not only are they the company’s first tablets running its own HarmonyOS operating system, but the smaller MatePad Pro and MatePad 11 use Snapdragon chips produced by Qualcomm rather than the Huawei-designed Kirin processors found in its previous devices,” wrote The Verge.
The outlet then explained that, in addition to trying to deal with the need to “break free of Android,” U.S. sanctions are causing problems for the company’s “Kirin processor production,” thereby “forcing it to source chips from competitor Qualcomm.”
The Wall Street Journal presented Huawei’s decision as “an attempt to challenge Google’s dominance in smartphone software,” noting that while Chinese sellers represent 57 percent of the global “handset market,” Huawei face an “uphill battle,” given that “More than eight out of 10 smartphones sold run Android.” According to the BBC, 85.4% of smartphones shipped in 2019 used Android, while Apple iOS had the remaining 14.6 percent.
Huawei are not the first Big Tech corporation to attempt to compete with Google, or indeed Apple, when it comes to mobile operating systems. Both Microsoft and Samsung have tried — and failed — to do so.
“HarmonyOS is designed to provide the glue between a growing array of connected devices that Huawei is targeting,” said Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, according to the BBC.”Huawei will be hoping that it can follow Apple’s lead, by having a single software platform that extends in all directions, providing a seamless experience to customers that buy into its ecosystem of products.”
It appears the Chinese government is heavily promoting the alternative to Android, with the BBC’s China media analyst reporting that “Divisions of China’s youth movement, the Communist Youth League, and even fire rescue and official courthouse accounts, have been promoting the new system. In the last week, more than 17 million Weibo users have read posts that include the hashtag ‘TheHarmonySmartphoneSystemIsHere’.”
Huawei has been embroiled in an ongoing battle over issues which include concerns of cyber-espionage on behalf of the Chinese communist regime. In November 2020, the UK government announced that Huawei would be banned from the country’s 5G mobile network.
Meanwhile, in May 2020, Reuters reported that Trump’s 2019 executive order “declaring a national emergency and barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk” would be extended for another year.
“The order invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency that threatens the United States,” Reuters added.
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