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Huawei secretly developing in-house OS to compete with Android, report says

by Jacob Kleinman | June 24, 2016June 24, 2016 5:30 pm PDT

Huawei has been pumping out some impressive Android devices, but the company could also be cooking up an alternative to Google’s operating system. A new report claims the Chinese giant is working on an in-house OS to rival Android and Apple’s iOS.

The Information reports that Huawei is developing the new software in secret, citing three anonymous insiders. We’re still pretty short on details, but an Android alternative could give the Chinese company a nice backup plan if its relationship with Google starts to sour. It could also provide some extra leverage in future deals with the search giant.

Samsung’s taken a similar approach with Tizen, a Linux-based OS that powers wearable devices like the Gear S2 and Gear Fit 2. However, the Korean company’s plans for a Tizen-based smartphone hit plenty of speed bumps, including multiple delays and a lack of third-party app support.

Huawei’s also working to refine it’s current Android skin EMUI. The company hired former Apple designer Abigail Brody to improve its software last September. The Information says she’s working  on“glaring cosmetic issues” and “pain points” with the UI, adding that she plans to improve it without copying Apple.

Brody worked at Apple for almost a decade from 2001 to 2011, contributing to dozens of projects including OS X and the original iPhone software. It’s unclear if she’s also working on Huawei’s in-house OS project, but it seems likely she would be at least somewhat involved.

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...