09 July 2019
Unless the U.S. authorities decide to lift the ban or offer some kind of special treatment in coming two months, Huawei will have no choice but to stop using Android and Google's apps/services on its smartphones and tablets. This is the reason it has been looking for alternatives with the majority of reports pointing towards Huawei's own Android fork. But today, we have a new report claiming that Huawei is also exploring an existing operating system called Aurora OS as a possible option.
The report is coming from a Russian publication The Bell citing a discussion between Huawei CEO Guo Ping and Konstantin Noskov, the minister of digital development, communications, and mass media of Russia. It says that Ping had a conversation about using Aurora OS as an Android alternative on its current and upcoming devices. Some of the devices are also said to be already running the software for testing purposes.
Aurora OS is essentially a forked version of Sailfish OS, a Linux-based operating system developed by Finland-based tech company Jolla. Sailfish OS was developed by people who worked on Nokia's failed MeeGo OS. It is quite popular within the developer community because of its open-source nature and compatibility with Android apps. It focuses on gesture-based navigation and also emphasizes on privacy features. Even there are only a handful of devices that pre-install Sailfish OS, it can be installed manually on selected Sony Xperia models.
The decision to move users from Android to a non-Android operating system could be a risky move but considering Android apps compatibility, this seems like the major reason Huawei is willing to go ahead. This is not exactly surprising as Huawei was recently found to be inviting developers to bring their apps over to its own AppGallery app store. In other words, Huawei's hurdle is not only about finding an Android alternative OS but is also related to ensuring that users find their commonly and widely used apps easily.
A recent report also suggested that Huawei's HongMeng OS was under intensive testing with major partners including Tencent, Oppo, and Vivo. It seems like it is exploring and testing both methods (own OS and existing OS) to see which could be the best possible step moving forward.