Over the weekend stories were circulating about Huawei’s plans to abandon Android for its own platform in the event that it became disaffected with Google's stewardship of the mobile OS. Aside from stating the obvious, did these stories have any substance?
When I say that these were statements of the obvious, I mean that Huawei, along with every other Android OEM, will have a contingency plan for the day that Google starts to exert some pressure on them. That may be their own platform – as Samsung seeks to do with Tizen, it may be an increase in the number of handsets running other platforms like Windows 10 Mobile or, most likely, it will be a AOSP homespun version of Android which excludes Google’s services.
The most obvious option would be the latter. It’s relatively easy to do and there are alternatives to the Google Play Store which mean that the loss of Google Mobile Services would be no disaster.
What would be a disaster, however, would be for OEMs to take their own direction and create multiple competing platforms. Already we’ve seen that the market supports a duopoly with a very small third placed competitor. Neither Samsung nor Huawei are powerful enough to make their platform that third choice. Just look at how well Tizen is doing. Now imagine a competitor from Huawei.
Even if OEMs based on the Chinese mainland were to collectively implement a new platform to replace Android on their product lines, can you imagine the reception that would get in the rest of the world? Chilly doesn’t even begin to describe it.
So yes, it’s probably fair to say that Huawei has plans to move if Android if it needs to. But its own platform? No, I really don’t think so.