The prospect that ZTE could lose its license to use Google’s Android operating system for smartphones has also raised the question: does China need its own smartphone OS as a backup?
For a start, Android and Apple’s proprietary iOS have a stranglehold on smartphone operating systems, accounting for 99.9 per cent of the global market, according to Gartner estimates.
Others that have tried to break the duopoly include Microsoft, with its Windows Mobile OS, and Samsung Electronics with its Tizen system. There was also Nokia’s Symbian platform.
Huawei Technologies, the top-selling smartphone brand in China and world’s biggest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, could be the next to try if push comes to shove.
The company has been developing and perfecting its own smartphone OS, according to four people familiar with the company’s plans.
Huawei “has no plans to release its own OS in the foreseeable future,” the company said in a response to a query. “We focus on products powered by Android OS and adopt an open attitude towards mobile OS.”
The company will continue to buy chipsets from US-based Qualcomm and Taiwan-based MediaTek, two of the world’s largest mobile chipset manufacturers. Its Kirin chips will be used on its own phones and not sold to external customers, the company said.