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Huawei has its own mobile OS ready in case it ever needs to ditch Android

March 11th, 2019 at 6:35 PM
Huawei foldable phone

Given the embattled state of affairs at Huawei these days, it should probably come as no surprise that the Chinese smartphone brand finds itself thinking about major what-ifs and emergency scenarios even as it very much tries to maintain a business-as-usual facade. Case in point? Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer products division, said in a recent interview that the company prefers to work “within the ecosystems” of American companies — specifically, Google and Microsoft — for its smartphone operating systems. For now.

According to Yu, however, if push ever comes to shove Huawei actually already has its own smartphone OS ready to go should it eventually become too problematic to continue relying on US companies. Yu referred to a point in the future when the company might begin using its own already-prepped smartphone OS as “Plan B” for Huawei.

In his interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, Yu went on to share everything from his overall assessment of the smartphone market to some hints about a variety of innovations and new products that Huawei has up its sleeve.

For starters, the company just unveiled its first foldable handset in the form of the Mate X, and Huawei’s leadership is already thinking about how fast the company can accelerate things to the point where foldable phone prices come way down from the four-figure mark they’re at now. “At the beginning,” Yu says, according to an English translation of his interview, “the (foldable) smartphone is mainly sold as a premium product. But later it will also push into the middle price segment. Over time, we will be able to push it below 1000 euros ($1,123). For that we need one to two years. Later maybe in the range of 500 euros. That will take longer.

“Of course it also depends on how well the device is accepted. We can accelerate mass production at any time.”

Meanwhile, there’s certainly a lot more going on at Huawei today than foldable phone production. Huawei just announced that its Mate 20 line has crossed the 10 million threshold, helping the company inch closer to one of its most ambitious goals.

Huawei, which is launching its P30 and P30 Pro later this month, will also according to Yu “pass Samsung and be the (global smartphone) market leader by next year at the latest. We are already close.”

Yu thinks Apple will probably move forward with a foldable iPhone, but not this year and probably not in 2020 either. Also, Huawei is working on some really big displays, Yu continued, in the range of 100 to 200 inches. So it will definitely be interesting to see what the consumer electronics giant is cooking up in that regard — and on a variety of other fronts, as well.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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