China’s Huawei says it is working on its own mobile OS as a backup plan

China’s Huawei says it is working on its own mobile OS as a backup plan

Just weeks after denying that it would launch its own mobile operating system, Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei has confirmed that it is in fact working on one, though the OS is only intended as a backup in case other companies won’t let it use their software.

“We’re also devoting resources into coming up with a phone operating system based on our current platform in case other companies won’t let us use their system one day,” CEO Wan Biao told Reuters in an interview.

The confirmation comes as somewhat of a surprise, since the company commented earlier to Bloomberg just weeks ago that it did not plan on releasing a proprietary operating system.

“Huawei will not be launching a proprietary operating system in the foreseeable future,” spokesman Scott Sykes had said. “Our innovation strategy is governed by our commitment to open collaborations.”

Though they appear to contradict, the two statements are in fact reconcilable, since it appears that Huawei is developing the OS with no immediate plans to launch it. Huawei’s founder reportedly told employees earlier this month that it needed to develop the software as “disaster preparedness”.

Chinese media have been quick to suggest that Huawei is working to wean itself off dependency on Android or Windows Phone. As far back as last year, both Huawei and rival handset maker ZTE were tipped to be shying away from Android. ZTE last week announced a cooperation with Mozilla on a mobile operating system that should arrive on devices early next year.

The abundance of new operating systems coming out of China is beginning to make for a crowded market. Alibaba’s newly spun-off Aliyun OS is expected to compete with Qihoo 360 over placement on small to medium-sized mobile phone vendors’ products, with one local report describing it as an impending “head-on crash”.

(hat tip Asymco)

Image credit: Sam Yeh / AFP / Getty Images.

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